Resilient Summit soccer squad steals split
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
With just under 12 minutes remaining and the score knotted at 3-3, Summit’s Sergio Ruiz stood between the goal posts, anticipating the first move of the Valor Christian forward.
After coming back from two one-goal deficits and overcoming a red card in the first half, the Tigers now needed the junior goalkeeper to come up big on a crucial penalty kick.
“It was pretty much do or die at this point,” SHS head coach Matt Zeiset said. “With so little time left, we couldn’t afford to go down again.”
And Ruiz was up to the task, lunging for a diving save that wound up being the difference in the resilient Tigers’ 3-3 tie on a soggy night at Tiger Stadium.
“Our goal was to get the guys playing together,” Zeiset said. “Not only did they do that, but to overcome being down two different times and overcome that red card and getting a PK called against us, it was just great to see from the guys.”
Senior Kegan Zorens and junior Matt Nowakiwsky scored goals for the Tigers, who were forced to play a man down for the majority of the night.
After the Tigers took a 2-1 lead midway through the first half on a ball hit into the Valor net by one of the team’s own defenders, a Summit player was issued a red card for taunting. With only 10 players, Summit gave up a quick goal before halftime. Valor then struck after the intermission to put Summit in a hole with only 20 minutes left.
The Tigers responded, though, with Nowakiwsky burying a shot from 25 yards away.
Summit withstood some Valor pressure for the remainder of the half and nearly scored twice in the overtime periods, but settled for the tie.
“We showed a lot of determination in playing the way we did,” Zeiset said. “We really fought hard out there.”
Valor scored early in the game to put Summit in a quick 1-0 deficit. Just eight minutes into the first half, the visitors got a favorable bounce on a long shot that skidded off the wet turf and into the Tiger goal for a 1-0 lead.
But, on a ball centered by Jackson Hill from a corner kick, Zorens tied the game by drilling a left-footed shot into the upper-left corner.
The Tigers then took their only lead with about eight minutes left in the half.
Summit is now 1-2-3 on the season, but Zeiset feels that Wednesday’s tie could be a launching point for a team that has gotten off to slow starts the past few seasons.
“I’m really hoping for that,” Zeiset said. “If we can a little consistency from these guys … we could get something going. It would be great if we could jump start something from here.”
The Tigers are back in action on Monday when they travel to Evergreen for a 6 p.m. contest.
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