Summit High School boys soccer finds redemption in 2-1 win over Lutheran
Summit High School junior goalkeeper Tommy Romero rose to the occasion, made the kind of play he didn’t earlier in the game and clinched a 2-1 win for the Summit boys soccer team on Saturday, Oct. 2.
At Tiger Stadium, the reserve keeper punched away a final strong shot on net by visiting Lutheran to secure a redemption win for him and the rest of the Tigers team.
Romero let a routine shot on net go through his goalie mitts to help Lutheran knot up the game at 1-1 earlier in the second half, but his response to cap a 4-save performance was the kind of showing Tigers head coach Jotwan Daniels was looking for from his team.
“When we needed him he makes the plays,” Daniels said. “That’s a lot of what we try to talk about, right? It’s not the play that just occurred — it’s the next one. You have to have that next play mentality. That’s part of the mental toughness we’re trying to develop with this team.”
Romero learned Saturday morning that he’d be stepping in for Tigers starting keeper Trevor Hodges, who was out sick. Summit (4-4-1) found a way to win without Hodges and bounced back from a deflating 3-0 home loss to Eagle Valley on Wednesday, Sept. 6.
The Tigers settled into the game versus Lutheran (8-2) shortly after the outset, as Daniels preached to his team early that their best was good enough to take down the visiting Lions.
Summit played their best early on, with the defensive line anchored by senior captain center back Collin Doran settling in, while the midfield controlled much of the game’s ebbs and flows. That enabled Summit to play with confidence in the final, attacking third, a development that earned them their first goal of the game about midway through the first half.
During the sequence, Tigers senior captain midfielder Andrew Martin did well to earn a dangerous free kick just outside of Luterhan’s 18-yard box. The injury-addled Martin shrugged off the hard tackle to send a direct kick straight at the Lions keeper, who was unable to corral it. Then, Summit senior Jonah Mocatta was in perfect position to hammer home the rebound for the 1-0 lead.
“I was happy he put it on frame so I could just tap it in,” Mocatta said. “Our focus was getting shots on target and running at the defense and putting pressure on their back line. I was helping the wingers as much as possible with runs behind them, and supporting the front line overall.”
The Tigers continued to control things into the early second half before Romero’s mishandle tied up the game at 1-1. But Summit kept coming in a chippy game where the Tigers didn’t back down from the Lions, even after the goal.
Daniels said after Mocatta displayed the “bravery” in the final third the coach wanted to see, teammates bottled it up as well. That included solid, steady captain-like play in the midfield by junior Owen Gallo, who showcased much class on the ball for 80 minutes. In front of his family and little brother, Tigers senior attacking midfielder Alan Casillas was a star for Summit, uncorking dangerous shot after dangerous shot on the Lions net — especially in the second half.
Casillas said on the game-winning scoring play with just three minutes to go he made the most of an initial bad touch off of a corner kick to settle it and fire it through the back of the net.
“He was really after it today,” Daniels said. “He did everything that we love — Alan’s grittiness, scrappiness, and even his digging in defensively when we needed him to.”
Summit will next play 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, at D’Evelyn of Denver before returning home at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, for senior night at Tiger Stadium versus Vail Mountain School.
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