Battle Mountain bests Summit High School girls in rivalry soccer match
Shorthanded Tigers fall 3-0 to drop to 1-6 on the season
Summit High School varsity girls soccer head coach Jotwan Daniels said the physical and mental drain of the COVID-19 condensed season finally caught up with him and his Tigers players Saturday, June 5, in a 3-0 home loss to Battle Mountain.
“This one was on me as a coach,” Daniels said. “This deep in a season in a crazy, COVID-condensed, wild year I asked a tremendous amount of effort from my girls on Thursday (1-0 loss to Steamboat Springs), and I think what we saw in terms of the slow start (Saturday) was evident of that. I as a coach noticed it before the game. It wasn’t so much the physical fatigue, I think it was the mental fatigue. And that’s just where we are in the season.”
Daniels said he noticed Battle Mountain (5-2-2, 5-2-2 4A Western Slope League) switched up its strategy from a 3-2 win earlier this season. Rather than having sports star Gabby Caballero in net, the Huskies coaching staff opted to have Caballero at a playmaking position out in the field.
The Huskies senior led the organized, overload attack in the team’s attacking third, using her craftiness and first-to-second-touch flicks to take advantage of the young Summit team’s inexperience. Caballero anchored Battle Mountain in a first half where they scored in the 16th and 25th minutes versus Tigers senior goalie Grace Rogers, who had two saves. Tigers junior Sarah Pappas made three saves in the second half.
The Tigers (1-6, 1-6 4A Western Slope) nearly got a goal late in the first half from sophomore striker Joselin Roque off of a pass from junior wing Olyvia Snyder, but the score was called back due to being offside.
The Tigers used halftime to regroup with the short bench they had — the team was without the likes of contributors Paola Arredondo, Abigail Wineland, Maclean Donovan, Ella Snyder, Brina Babich and Anna Garvert due to injuries and personal obligations. Summit charged out in the first five minutes of the second half with a strong, controlling possession and getting some solid looks on the Huskies net. But ultimately Battle Mountain seized back control of possession and added a third and final goal to take firm control of the contest.
“In the second half I tried to tweak things up a bit and, as a coach, I probably should have changed the formation to be a little more attacking-minded,” Daniels said. “We got a lot of good attacks in those last 14 minutes, and that was because we put one of our best midfield players as the target up top. And we started to get some really good attacks.”
Daniels is referring to sophomore captain Katy Clapp. The coach took the do-it-all player and put her as a lone center forward thanks to her soft touch receiving passes.
“In the second half we started to pick it up,” Clapp said. “We had a little more intensity and fight when we were going forward. I think we just had a little bit of struggle, they pushed up a bunch of players which caused our defense and midfield problems, but I think when we countered, we countered with intensity. I’m glad he can trust me to play wherever he needs me and trusts my skill.”
Clapp said Summit found its most offensive success on long balls sent down into the Huskies corners and runs down the sideline. Speedy Snyder was a leading force down each wing, routinely threatening runs down each sideline.
“Olyvia’s contribution to the team is amazing,” Daniels said. “She came from ski practice and gave us everything. We still got 110% out of her.”
Down so many players, Daniels called up a pair of junior varsity players for Saturday’s game: freshman Ella Meltzer and junior Elizabeth Darst. Daniels said Meltzer in particular played a great game in the midfield though at the start of the day she didn’t know just how big her role would be.
“Her exact words to the trainer were, ‘I didn’t know I was going to play today,’” Daniels said.
Summit will next play Tuesday, June 8, at Glenwood Springs (5-2-2) in what should be another very challenging contest before wrapping up the season, Friday, June 11, at Tiger Stadium and Saturday, June 12, with home matches versus Palisade (11 a.m.) and Steamboat Springs (11 a.m.).
“We got through the thick part of the season, but finishing this season I’ll have to be better managing the minutes of players and mental fatigue,” Daniels said. “We are all going through it right now. I think Glenwood’s going to be a tough one, but we should be up for it.”
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