Ponderosa High School ended the Summit High School boys soccer team’s playoff run Tuesday night in Parker. The Tigers lost 2-1 in a hard-fought second-round contest between the two schools.
“It was a great game,” Summit athletic director Amy Raymond said. “We played them to the end.”
The matchup pitted the No. 21-seeded Tigers against the No. 5-seeded Mustangs.
“We were the clear underdogs,” Tigers head coach Tommy Gogolen said, “and we had them on their heels.”
The teams played scoreless for 20 minutes into the first half when Mustang senior Colton Carr came down the flank, beating a Tiger defender and putting the ball past goalie Noah Glasco.
“Colton hit a fantastic shot,” Gogolen said. The teams went to halftime with Ponderosa up one.
Summit came into the second half strong.
“It was a physical game for sure,” senior captain Max Ortiz said.
Ten minutes into the second half, Summit junior Thomas DeBonville scored the equalizer.
“Thomas had the goal of the season,” Gogolen said, describing DeBonville’s left-footed kick.
But Ponderosa kept its composure and fought right back. Mustang junior Adam Rowland capitalized with a header off of a corner kick to put Ponderosa up 2-1, with 25 minutes left in the game.
“Our boys played their hearts out,” Gogolen said of his team’s effort late in the game. “We had our chances but we couldn’t put it in the back of the net.”
He credited a strong effort by Ponderosa’s defense. “There’s a reason they were 12-3.”
It was a tough way for the Tigers to end an otherwise impressive season, but Gogolen said he was proud of his team. “Even losing 2-1, that’s a good result against a good team.”
For the Tigers, making it to the second round of the state tournament far exceeded expectations.
“Everybody anticipated it was going to be a rebuilding year,” Raymond said. “They proved us wrong.”
“We never thought we’d make it this far,” Ortiz said.
Gogolen likely believed in his young team more than anyone. After the team made it to the first round of the playoffs last year, Gogolen set the playoffs as a preseason goal again this year.
“Since I’ve been here, that’s the furthest they’ve been,” Raymond said.
“I don’t want to say it was a long shot, but it was a good goal,” Gogolen told the Daily. It was an accomplishment made all the more impressive considering the team graduated nine seniors the previous year.
“It shows our program is growing,” he said.
On Monday, the team’s 10-6-1 record and playoff berth also earned Gogolen 4A Western Slope coach of the year honors. The award, voted on by other league coaches, typically goes to the league champion coach, Raymond said. While powerhouse Battle Mountain took the league championship, fellow coaches acknowledged Gogolen’s accomplishment.
“It says how highly he is thought of in our league — well deserved,” Raymond said.
Player all-conference honors will be acknowledged at the team’s end-of-season banquet next week.