Summit boys soccer team fends off Vail Mountain School in 2-1 win
The Summit High School boys soccer team’s last three games have been a challenge and Tuesday’s game against the Vail Mountain School Gore Rangers was no different.
Despite Summit facing a non-league opponent from the 2A classification at home, the Tigers were pressed to the brink.
The matchup between the two teams began with a fight for solid possession at midfield. The two teams’ forwards clashed together trying to turn the ball up the field, but were mainly stymied by the opposing team’s defense.
After several minutes, Summit started to find its groove offensively. The Tigers crossed several passes in front of the net which led to numerous shots on net but zero made it past the Gore Rangers goalie.
Summit continued to press the Vail Mountain School defense. Twelve minutes into the game, senior captain Owen Gallo did what he did best and effortlessly dribbled through a trio of Gore Rangers to send a shot into the back of the net.
The goal electrified the team and put Summit up 1-0 with 28 minutes remaining in the first half.
For the 10 minutes following the Gallo goal, Vail Mountain School spent time in their offensive zone. The Gore Rangers had several corner kicks that floated in front of the net but junior goalie Abdoul Kane and the Summit defense kept every advance out of the back of the net early on.
In the final few minutes of the first half, the Vail Mountain School defense forced Summit off the ball and regained possession. The Gore Rangers defense continues to press Summit, and the Tigers had trouble producing substantial offensive possessions to the end of the half.
The Tigers led the Gore Rangers 1-0 at halftime.
The game grew feverish in the second half. Vail Mountain School appeared to grow frustrated with their lack of a goal while Summit was flustered in its pursuit of a second score.
Sophomore Rutley Heinemann, senior captain Thomas Turilli and senior captain Thomas Steele were the main Vail Mountain School players who worked to up the intensity in the game, trying to frustrate the Tigers into committing a costly penalty or a mistake.
The cooler heads between the two teams eventually prevailed.
After being pushed, shoved and egged on for the first part of the second half, senior Fabian Cuevas worked his way around a Gore Rangers defender, gathered himself and fired past the opposing goalie to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead with 24 minutes remaining in the game
The Summit defense played exceptionally well in the latter part of the second half. Not only did it stop several shots by Vail Mountain School but, like the offense, the defense kept a level head as the Gore Rangers continued to amp up the intensity.
“We were up 1-0 after the first half but that still isn’t a whole lot,” senior captain Evan Reil said. “We still wanted to bring the energy and we knew that they were going to be matching that. We had to just keep playing our game and make sure we were composed on the ball.”
Reil blocked shots while junior Jack Stafford and sophomore Reece Bosgraaf applied constant pressure on the Vail Mountain School forwards.
Despite Summit playing extremely strong defense, the team eventually allowed a goal off a corner kick with 3 minutes and 25 seconds remaining in regulation. The shot went off a Gore Rangers header and over Kane to bring the score to 2-1.
Summit closed out the remainder of the game with a huge defensive stand, and at the end of 80 minutes, the Tigers claimed the victory.
“I felt good in goal and I was excited that we were able to win the game,” Kane said.
Although the Tigers have been in some close games, the team views it as a necessary learning experience if the team wants to go far in the 4A state playoffs.
“Every game at this point is super important coming down to the end,” Reil said. “With the league being really tight it was nice that we were able to get a win after the tying last week against Glenwood. It was nice to kind of bounce back and get back to where we are hoping to keep going with the season.”
With Tuesday’s goals from Gallo and Cuevas, the duo has now gone the last eight games with at least one of them scoring a goal or recording an assist.
The Summit boys soccer team will have a few days of rest before traveling to Palisade to take on the Palisade Bulldogs on Saturday, Oct. 8. The Tigers will return to Breckenridge on Tuesday, Oct. 18 for their final, two-game homestand of the regular season. The Tigers will face Eagle Valley on Oct. 18 and then Steamboat Springs on Thursday, Oct. 20.
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