Summit boys soccer pushes Vail Mountain School to final whistle in 1-0 loss

Summit High School sophomore Santiago Casco, left, heads the ball away from a leaping defender during the Tigers homecoming match against Battle Mountain on Sept. 21 at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News

The Summit High School varsity boys soccer team (4-6-1, 0-5-1 4A/3A Western Slope East League) pushed Vail Mountain School but wasn’t able to find an equalizer in a 1-0 defeat Thursday, Oct. 6, at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.

Tigers head coach Jotwan Daniels said the Gore Rangers (6-2-2, 1-1-2) executed their game plan of sprinting back on defense to guard against Tigers transition chances.

“They were getting numbers behind the ball and preventing us from finding spaces to attack,” Daniels said.

Playing against that strategy, Summit nearly took an early 1-0 lead on a great shot attempt on the run of play by senior captain Andrew Martin. Martin’s shot hit both the far post and near post before it was cleared off the goal line before the Tigers could tap in the rebound.

“We were unfortunate,” Daniels said. “We did what we wanted to do, and we got players in positions where we wanted them to be dangerous, and we got the shot we wanted.”

On the other end, Vail Mountain School’s offense centered around strong hold-up play at target forward by senior captain Sebastian Kohlhofer. With each team looking for the breakthrough goal in the first half, Daniels said Summit played with an energized response after its 5-2 loss at D’Evelyn in Arvada on Tuesday night.

Though Summit played with heart and desire in front of its home crowd, a defensive breakdown late in the first half led to the game’s lone goal. Gore Rangers junior Nolan Kim found the back of the net on a sudden, scramble shot where Tigers junior goalkeeper Trevor Hodges didn’t have time to adjust his feet when Kim went in the other direction.

At the end of the second half, with Summit down 1-0, the Tigers switched up their formation tactically for one of the few times this season. Daniels opted to forgo a defender and positioned Summit with three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards.

The coach said Summit did a good job playing out of the more offensive formation despite not having practiced it much. Daniels said Tigers captain senior Collin Doran and his fellow centerbacks in senior Lucas Sudduth and junior Evan Reil rose to the occasion to defend one-on-one in the man-down situation.

“We went from a second half with chances few and far between to a final five minutes where if we can just get a little bit of luck we can get goals back and send it to overtime,” Daniels said.

The coach added that Tigers sophomore midfielder Santiago Casco stepped up in a defensive role in front of the back line while Martin, junior captain Owen Gallo and junior forward Alex Espinoza did a good job of collecting the ball and finding forwards in dangerous situations.

In net, Hodges made five saves. Summit is next scheduled to play at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 11, at home versus Gunnison (4-4).

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