Summit boys soccer wins home-opener 3-0 versus Frederick
Tigers junior Fabian Cuevas ignites goals with wing wizardry
Three goals, all fueled by junior talent Fabian Cuevas, propelled the Summit High School varsity boys soccer team (1-1) to its first win of the season Tuesday, Aug. 31, at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.
Cuevas’ ability to dust defenders down the wing and send dangerous balls into the box was the most threatening offense for the Tigers in their 3-0 win over Frederick (1-2).
In front of a larger crowd of fans at Tiger Stadium than their 2021 COVID-affected spring season, the Tigers rose to the challenge of first-year head coach Jotwan Daniels to go out and “put on a show” in the nonconference matchup.
Summit found its footing via transition offense in the first half, as halfway into the period Cuevas won a one-on-one battle on the right wing and crossed a ball to Frederick’s back post. The cross found Tigers junior Alex Espinoza, who took the kind of chance Daniels implored his players to seize at opportune moments.
“It’s nice to see them enjoy the fruits of their labor,” Daniels said. “They are seeing the proof is in the pudding, that with the hard work and effort they put in — and being brave in moments when they need to — it pays off.”
The Cuevas-assisted Espinoza strike put the Tigers up 1-0 while their defensive backline provided assurance against the Warriors attack. At the forefront of Summit’s defensive effort were senior captain Collin Doran and senior Lucas Sudduth. Daniels tasked the defense with marking senior Warriors goal-scorer Zane Doehring, who already scored five goals on the young season.
“We kind of knew he was a stud, and we were intent on forcing someone else to beat us,” Daniels said. “And Collin Doran set the tone early when there was a long ball to the kid, and he towers over and wins the header. From then on, him and Lucas Sudduth were dialed into the task.”
Summit tacked on another goal before the end of the first half off another Cuevas one-on-one down the wing. This time, he found Tigers senior Gannon Heisler, who has settled in nicely to a new position at target forward. The converted wing player worked through a double-team to get a toe-poke on Cuevas’ cross that ultimately found Tigers senior forward Thierno Ly. Ly tapped the redirect inside the back post for the 2-0 margin.
Frederick adjusted in the second half to play with more attacking players in the final third. Daniels said the Tigers backline rose to the occasion as they were committed to keeping a shutout on their home pitch. Then, 20 minutes into the second half, Cuevas again created an opportunity out of a one-on-one situation down the sideline. Tigers junior forward Jonah Mocatta sprung on the opportunity for his second goal of the season to put the final result on ice.
Daniels said the Tigers defense complemented and enabled the offensive players to take chances in the attack, as he said the backline is particularly intelligent with reading the ebbs and flows in front of them. It’s a sign, the coach said, that Summit is learning how to play together and develop a playing identity. Although Summit is still rounding into peak fitness and endurance, Daniels said the team is on pace to be at top form in the coming weeks. That includes senior captain Andrew Martin joining the likes of Espinoza, Cuevas and junior playmaker Owen Gallo in the midfield.
Martin played extended minutes Friday, Aug. 27, before Daniels sat him with the 3-goal lead in the second half to nurse a lingering groin injury after missing the season-opening 2-1 loss last week at rival Battle Mountain.
“We’re fortunate to have him, and we’re hoping to keep him healthy for the duration of the season,” Daniels said.
Summit goes into its next match at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2, at Steamboat Springs, and Daniels said he’d like to see the side take the next step in its ability to switch the point of attack using its outside backs. A better penchant of making different kinds of runs off the ball is another goal.
As for junior keeper Trevor Hodges’ first shutout, Daniels said the goalie is building confidence with an even-keeled approach where he lets his actions do the talking. On Tuesday, he made five key saves.
“Trevor is a silent warrior,” Daniels said. “He has ice water in his veins. I’ve never seen him get too high or low. He’s up for it.”
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