Summit soccer battling for postseason berth
If the Summit Tigers want to secure their place in the Class 4A boys soccer state tournament, they have to win games like Thursday’s matchup with Class 4A Western Slope Conference foe Rifle.
This is good news for the Tigers as they edged out a 2-1 victory in a game that was marked by physical play and that Tigers coach Tommy Gogolen described as a must-win in his team’s quest for a postseason berth.
Coming into the season, few people expected the Tigers to be where they are now. Currently, Summit stands with a 6-4 record and 4-3 in conference play, having defeated six opponents by a combined score of 23-4 while losing four games by one goal each.
“Some people might have thought this was a rebuilding year,” Tigers coach Tommy Gogolen said Friday. “But (the team has) stepped it up, and my gosh, we’re in the hunt. There are no days off right now. There are goals to get to, and the boys are on board.”
Throughout the first half against Rifle (2-4, 1-4), Summit struggled to capitalize on its opportunities and entered halftime scoreless. That changed when Evan Wolfson fed Tigers’ leading scorer Farid Infante for a one-on-one breakaway with Rifle’s goal keeper. Infante scored to put the Tigers up 1-nil and Wolfson was credited with the assist.
About 15 minutes later, Infante found the back of the net again for the game-winner after his teammate, Jackson Stone, beat a couple Rifle defenders and put a “great shot” on goal, his coach said.
Rifle’s keeper saved the goal on Stone’s try but couldn’t collect the ball, and Infante was there for the rebound.
Kyle Wertz manned the net for the Tigers throughout the 80-minute contest with four saves.
“We were tested with some adversity,” Gogolen said. “We battled. It wasn’t the best soccer game on our part, but I’m thankful the boys were physical, a little scrappy even … and it was one we had to win.”
Summit takes on Palisade on Saturday in a rematch of a game Summit won 9-0 on Sept. 16. Then the Tigers play Glenwood Springs on the road Tuesday in another conference matchup.
“Palisade will be a good prep for us Tuesday,” Gogolen said. “Of course, we’re taking it game-by-game, but the real test will be Tuesday at Glenwood’s place.”
Earlier this year, Summit defeated Glenwood Springs 4-1 in Breckenridge.
Gogolen believes the Tigers might have “caught them by surprise” in the first matchup, and he’s expecting a good game in the rematch.
“They are a good team, and they’re playing well right now,” he said of Glenwood Springs (7-5, 6-3). “That’s going to be a test for us.”
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