Summit boys soccer comes back for first victory in overtime
Gannon Heisler scores sudden-death game winner
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Ivan Gutierrez’s name in a photo caption.
The Summit High School varsity boys soccer team won its first game of the season, 2-1, Wednesday, March 31, in thrilling overtime comeback fashion at Steamboat Springs. Defender-turned-forward Gannon Heisler jetted down the right wing and got the winning shot for Summit, six minutes into the sudden-death extra time, sending his Tiger teammates into a frenzy.
Tigers head coach Tommy Gogolen said the team moved Heisler up top to get him more involved in the game.
“He had the ball at his foot a lot, and we were really knocking on the door, playing good soccer,” Gogolen said. “On the score, Gannon put up a beautiful ball, it skimmed off a Steamboat head and went into the back of the net.
“It was a cool moment too to see the boys celebrate. When you’re 0-4, the season can go a couple different ways, so it was great tonight to see the boys work hard.”
Gogolen said the main difference between Wednesday’s win and Summit’s season-opening 3-0 loss to Steamboat was the confidence and hunger the team showed. That hunger manifested itself even after the team went down 1-0 15 minutes into the game on a Tigers defensive mishap. The Sailors won a 50-50 ball and tucked it in the bottom left-hand corner of the net past Summit senior goal keeper Jesus “Che Che” Alvarado Lopez.
Gogolen was proud the team didn’t hang their heads. Rather, Summit battled and got seven shots on the Sailors frame to keep “the belief in their eyes,” as Gogolen put it. They could find an equalizer in the second half.
“I just challenged the boys that, it’s real simple,” Gogolen said. “If we win the 50-50 balls, this game is ours.”
The Tigers put forth a fantastic second half, winning the majority of the 50-50 balls. Then, with 18 minutes left in regulation’s 80 minutes, junior varsity call-up freshman Matthew Valdez placed a nice ball from his spot at central midfield to senior right wing Alan Casillas. Casillas teed-up a shot from 34 yards out, a score that found the upper-90 of the Sailors goal, to knot the game at 1-1.
Gogolen said the goal had been coming for some time for Summit with the Tigers playing simple soccer and switching the ball from one side of the pitch to the other to keep Steamboat on its heels. Gogolen credited Jose “Pepe” Casillas Escobar for his contributions in his first start on Summit’s back line. Up higher on the pitch, Gogolen said senior captain central midfielder Alex Casillas buzzed all over the field taking Steamboat defenders on, whether in the air or with the ball at his feet.
At a holding midfielder position, Ivan Gutierrez showcased heart and held down the center of the pitch despite the senior captain at one point limping off the field with an injury. And at centerback, Collin Doran was fast, smart and distributive from his sweeping spot orchestrating everything in front of him. In net, Alvarado Lopez was solid stopping three of the four shots that came his way.
All of these players contributions were crucial as it appears junior captain midfielder Andrew Martin, arguably the team’s best player, may be out for the remaining five games of the short 10-game campaign with a groin injury.
“Andrew is definitely a leader on the bench too,” Gogolen said. “We miss him, but he’s doing a good job corralling the boys and keeping the spirit up.”
Summit, now standing at 1-4, will next play Saturday, April 3, at home versus Rifle.
“We’re going to prep as if they’re the best team in the state and see if we can keep this momentum going,” Gogolen said.
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