Summit boys soccer falls to Battle Mountain in overtime
Summit High School boys soccer team head coach Jotwan Daniels often likens every 4A Western Slope league matchup to a playoff game atmosphere. Nothing could be more true for the Tigers first league game of the season against the Battle Mountain Huskies on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
Much like a playoff game, the two teams grew frustrated at each other and each goal scored cut each team deep. The Summit Tigers came into the matchup with a record of 1-0 after a last-second win over Erie High School in its home opener on Friday, Aug. 19.
The Huskies came into the match looking to its first win on the season after losing to Denver East, 4-0 late last week.
From the opening kickoff, the Huskies displayed their will to win the game, dominating possession of the ball and cutting through the Tigers’ defensive core.
Eight minutes into the opening half, the Huskies put a goal in the back of the net when Arturo Aguilar confused the Tigers defense and fired a shot past the reach of senior goaltender Trevor Hodges to go up 1-0.
About 10 minutes later, a second goal for the Huskies found the back of the net thanks to a strong-footed Battle Mountain offensive player. The goal seemed to suck the spirit out of the Tigers, but the team still attempted to put a goal of its own on the scoreboard.
Following a third straight goal from Battle Mountain, senior Fabian Cuevas drove the ball down the field — catching the Battle Mountain defense off guard — to finally put Summit on the board. The Tigers ended the half trailing 3-1 but with newfound momentum on its side.
Cuevas picked up the second half where he left off, scoring his second goal of the game a little over a minute into the second half after Hodges punted a ball far down the field into the Tigers offensive zone.
Summit was ignited by Cuevas’ second goal — upping both its intensity and energy. Battle Mountain searched for a way to slow down the Tigers, but the Summit offense continued to find ways to possess the ball.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Tigers looked like a completely different unit, not allowing the Huskies to set up for an opportunity to score like the team did in the first half.
“We changed our formation into a three in the back,” junior defenseman Jack Stafford said of the adjustments the defense made at halftime. “Assistant coach JJ also got us going.”
“We spotted them a couple of goals,” Daniels said. “We made a few adjustments to change our formation to stop absorbing so much pressure and put it on them. We kind of made a semi-move at the end of the first half and that just carried into the second half. We were able to impose ourselves on them.”
Towards the end of the second half, a full-on battle ensued as each team fought for every free ball and an opportunity to score.
With nine minutes remaining, Owen Gallo found himself in open space with a head full of steam and fired a shot, which bounced off the Huskies’ goalie and found Cuevas for the equalizer — completing his hat trick.
After 80 full minutes of play, the score remained tied 3-3, advancing the game to sudden-death overtime.
In overtime, the Tigers continued to hold its own, but a defensive mistake six minutes into overtime resulted in the game-winning goal for the Huskies. The Huskies defeated the Tigers, 4-3, in overtime for Summit’s first loss of the season.
“We had a great second half, and I thought we really played well in overtime. But they got one past us,” Stafford said. “But that’s just how it goes sometimes.”
The Tigers will play again on Saturday, Aug. 27 when the team has its first away league game of the season against the Steamboat Springs Sailors. As of Tuesday night, the Sailors are undefeated on the season after earning its first win against Evergreen last Saturday.
“I think Steamboat is not as tough of a matchup and we can definitely bounce back because we played great on Friday,” Stafford said.
“Boys are committed to one game, one week at a time,” Daniels said of the team responding to the overtime loss. “We are going to remember what this feels like, but we are filing that away as soon as we go to bed.”
The game between the Tigers and Sailors is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
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