Late goal thwarts Summit girls soccer team’s chances for win in season opener against Palisade |

Late goal thwarts Summit girls soccer team’s chances for win in season opener against Palisade

Cody Jones/Summit Daily News
Junior Ashley Misch clears the ball down the field during Summit's home opener against Palisade High School on Thursday, March 16. Summit dominated play for the majority of the game, but fell to Palisade 1-0.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

In windy and wintery weather, the Summit High School girls soccer team took to the pitch Thursday, March 16, for its season opener against Palisade High School in Breckenridge.

Summit’s 2022 spring season may have ended with a 5-2 loss to the Palisade Bulldogs, but this spring the team tried to begin the season with a win against a 2-0 Palisade squad. 

Despite dominating the pace of play and possession of the ball for the majority of the game, Summit lost its season opener, 1-0.

With a brisk wind cutting across the field, the teams battled over the first 10 minutes of the game. Early on in battle, it became clear that Summit had an increased level of intensity and energy, which gave the Tigers the edge in possession. 

Around 14 minutes into the game, Summit produced its first real opportunity to score with senior captain Kelley Duffy and Joselin Roque leading drives into the team’s offensive zone.

The offensive chances from Summit seemed to awaken Palisade — soon the team flipped the field and started creating scoring opportunities in front of Summit senior goaltender Mya Fearer.

The Summit defense faced a corner kick and a breakaway to the net, but the score remained at zeros midway through the first because of a strong defensive stand from junior Gracelyn Garvert and the Summit defensive unit. 

To end the first half, senior captain Katy Clapp fired a shot from about 30 yards, and the team sliced a ball into the offensive zone. But it was not enough to score a goal. After 40 minutes of play, Summit and Palisade remained knotted at 0-0.

“We came out wanting to work hard — work for each other and really focus on ourselves and playing a good, fun game of soccer,” Duffy said.

After both teams spent the entirety of the first half searching for the upper hand, continuing to battle for shots on net in the final half.

Summit continued to play with an energy and frenzy that led to balls entering the offensive zone, but the team’s lurking forwards could not spin the ball into the net.

On the other side of the pitch, the Palisade offense tried to replicate the force of the Summit offense, but was consistently stopped short on the doorstep of its offensive zone due to stellar play from the Tigers, including Garvert, senior Maggie Barggren, senior Brina Babich and junior Ashley Misch. 

Duffy continued to be a force for Summit, constantly looking for players to cross the ball over to, but neither team managed to pass the goal line after 60 minutes of play.

With the final 20 minutes on the clock, the intensity of the game heightened even more as both teams pushed for the win. 

Around the 65th minute of the 80-minute match, Palisade put itself in a position to score. The team did a better job at keeping the ball in the offensive zone and suddenly stymied the Summit defense’s attempts to clear the ball from Palisade’s offensive zone. 

The Bulldogs pestered the Tigers defense for close to four consecutive minutes before a ball successfully slipped in close to the net, and junior Mia De Villegas-Decker sunk the ball past sophomore goaltender Sydney Merriman for the go-ahead Palisade goal. 

“I think we were all a little bit tired,” Garvert said of the goal. “As coach (Jotwan) Daniels always says, we can play really well and then the outcome just doesn’t go in our favor. I think that was part of the case, but maybe our defense was a little bit flat, too. It’s all things we can work on.”

Cody Jones/Summit Daily News
Junior Mia Nelson, left, and senior Katy Clapp prepare to field the ball during Summit’s season opener against Palisade High School on Thursday, March 16.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

Summit remained focused, however. With eight minutes remaining, sophomore Olivia Lyman had her chance to score when she used her versatile speed to break away down the field and fire a shot at sophomore goaltender Brenae Snover. The shot appeared to slightly catch Snover off guard, but she found a way to wrap her arms around the shot and secure the ball.

Despite failing to score, Lyman’s shot electrified the team, and Summit maintained possession of the ball in its offensive zone over the majority of the final seven minutes. The Tigers had several opportunities to even the score, but the Palisade defense outlasted Summit to move to 3-0 on the season with the 1-0 win. 

Summit falls to 0-1 on the season and 0-1 in Western Slope League play. The team was disappointed by the late game-winning goal but were encouraged by how well the team controlled the game.

“Even though we didn’t come out with the result we were hoping for, we still worked so hard,” Duffy said. “Our performance was there. Performance over everything is something coach (Daniels) always says.”

Summit will get its next shot at the win column on Saturday, March 18, when the team takes on Steamboat Springs High School at Summit High School in Breckenridge. Steamboat Springs is currently 0-2 on the season after falling to Palisade 2-1 on Tuesday, March 14.

“We need to keep working on those little things so that little fluke (of a goal) doesn’t happen,” Duffy said. “Playing the right feet, putting names on balls and going to the ball.”

Summit is scheduled to face Steamboat Springs at 11 a.m. on Saturday. 

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