Summit boys soccer team strives for playoff run as season opener nears
It is common for a team that makes the playoffs to attempt a repeat tournament berth. This is especially true for a team that can bring back a large portion of its roster.
The Summit boys soccer team will have its fair share of returners for the fall 2022 season as it boasts a total of 11 seniors and seven juniors.
This group of upperclassmen will look to push past last season’s gut-wrenching overtime loss to D’Evelyn High School in the first round of the 4A state playoffs and continue to pursue the new standard of play the team set last season.
Prior to the 2021 season, the last time the Tigers made the playoffs was during the fall 2014 season. In that season, the Tigers advanced to the second round of the 4A state playoffs before they were eliminated by The Classical Academy in a 3-1 loss.
Following the 2014 season, the Tigers did not surpass more than nine wins in any given season, and they were held out of the playoffs until last year.
The rise of the Summit Tigers soccer team last season was, in large part, due to the leadership and vision of head coach Jotwan Daniels, who took over the boys program last year. Daniels has transformed both the Summit boys and girls soccer programs, using his passion and expertise about the sport to galvanize the teams.
In Daniels first season, the boys soccer team secured the best record it has recorded since the 2016 season. The Tigers ended last season with a record of 8-7-1 overall and 2-5-1 in Western Slope League play.
The Tigers ranked fourth overall in the highly competitive Western Slope League. Battle Mountain led the league last year with a record of 7-1 in league play.
Last season, the Tigers were led by a strong core of juniors that are returning this season. This year’s 11 seniors will help the team make a push towards a coveted state playoff run.
Notable returners include senior Owen Gallo, who served as a captain last season, and senior defenseman Evan Reil. Gallo and Reil will be helped by fellow classmates Jonah Mocatta, Fabian Cuevas and Carlos Cuevas.
Gallo was a mainstay for the Tigers during the 2021 season. He scored nine goals and assisted on three goals while playing in 14 games. Gallo will look to continue to be a trustworthy contributor and leader during his final season. Much like Gallo, Reil also served as a cornerstone for the Summit boys soccer team last season and will look to continue to lead the Tigers defense.
With so many seniors around them, Gallo and Reil are both excited to begin their senior seasons and see how the team can improve upon last year.
“We are looking forward to having that tight senior bond as we have played with each other our whole lives,” Gallo said. “I think we will have a really strong team this year because of how strong that bond is.”
The bond Gallo and Reil spoke about was evident on Tuesday as the team practiced through a strong monsoonal rainstorm. Despite being drenched to the bone by cold rain — with grass sticking to the back of calves — the team was collectively focused in preparing for its season opener later in the week.
“Everyone out there is pretty excited to win,” Gallo said of what he has seen so far in practice. “I think that the newcomers know what we achieved last season and want to surpass that.”
“It’s super competitive throughout the team,” Reil added. “Everyone is fighting for their spot on the team, so there is a lot of intensity.”
The intensity will carry the Tigers boys soccer team into its home opener against Erie High School on Friday, Aug. 19 at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.
Not only is the match against Erie the team’s first game of the season. It is also the only time that the Tigers will play under the lights on Friday night. The entire Summit boys soccer team will take the field against Erie with the team’s goals at the top of mind.
One goal for the team heading into the 2022 season is to secure a home playoff game after barely missing out on the opportunity by a few spots last season. The team is also hyper focused on making sure the team pursues the same path of excellence that it set last season.
“We are trying to continue what we did last year and at least win a playoff game this year,” Reil said.
The Tigers open their season at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19 at Tiger Stadium, located at 6201 Colorado Highway 9 in Breckenridge.
Aug. 19 vs. Erie, 6 p.m.
Aug. 23 vs. Battle Mountain, 6 p.m.
Aug. 27 at Steamboat Springs, 11 a.m.
Sept. 1 at Glenwood Springs, 6 p.m.
Sept. 7 at Atlas Preparatory School, 5 p.m.
Sept. 10 vs. Palisade, 11 a.m.
Sept. 13 vs. Evergreen, 6 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Eagle Valley, 6 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Battle Mountain, 6 p.m.
Sept. 29 vs. Glenwood Springs, 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 vs. Vail Mountain, 6 p.m.
Oct. 8 at Palisade, 1 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Roaring Fork, 4 p.m.
Oct. 18 vs. Eagle Valley, 6 p.m.
Oct. 20 vs. Steamboat Springs, 6 p.m.
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