Summit soccer fails to salvage game on senior night, loses 3-2 to Steamboat

Summit's Fabian Cuevas chips a shot over Steamboat Spring's Charlie Welch for a quick score in the opening minutes of the Tigers' senior night match at Climax Molybdenum Field at Tiger Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, in Breckenridge. The Tigers were defeated by the Sailors 3-2.
Jason Connolly/For the Summit Daily News

The Summit High School boys soccer team set out to make a statement during its senior night game against the Steamboat Springs Sailors on Thursday, Oct. 20.

Not only was the game important to the team’s 11 seniors, but the game was also fundamental in securing a home playoff bid and solidifying the 4A Western Slope league title. Despite fighting hard throughout the game, Summit came up short and fell to Steamboat 3-2.

Three minutes into the game, the Tigers made their first statement when senior Fabian Cuevas broke away with the ball and buried it past Steamboat goalie Charlie Welch.

The goal excited Summit, but the celebration was short-lived. Several seconds after the Cuevas goal, Steamboat Springs scored following a defensive miscue. 

After scoring its first goal of the game, Steamboat Springs kept up the pressure and minutes later added another, making the score 2-1. On the second goal, a Steamboat Springs forward slinked a ball past a group of Summit defenders and senior goalie Trevor Hodges.

Summit High School’s Evan Reil controls the ball during the Tigers’ senior night match at Climax Molybdenum Field at Tiger Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, in Breckenridge. The Tigers were defeated by the Sailors 3-2.
Jason Connolly/Summit Daily News

Following the second Sailors goal, the Tigers seemed to shy away offensively. 

Thirteen minutes into the game, Steamboat Springs frustrated Summit more when the Sailors scored their third goal of the game. Trailing 3-1, Summit searched for answers while senior captain Owen Gallo tried to settle down the team.

“I think we were kicking the ball through — over the defenders’ heads — and we couldn’t really beat them over because of their height,” Cuevas said of Summit’s challenges in the first half. “It was difficult for us to get past them but I knew if we kept fighting we could’ve gone through.”

With 10 minutes remaining in the half, Summit finally started to stack up some better offensive opportunities. Gallo, junior Erick Barahona and sophomore Juan Varon led the efforts down the field but were not able to muster a goal prior to halftime. The Tigers trailed 3-1 at the half.

Summit looked more put together to start the second half, but the Tigers offense still struggled to put goals on the board. Gallo had several chances to score in the first 20 minutes of the fresh half but either fired wide of the net or was stopped by the Steamboat defense. 

On the other side of the ball, the Sailors offense was thwarted by the Tigers defense, which had made some needed adjustments during halftime. 

Besides a few shots on goal, sophomore Reece Bosgraaf, senior Evan Reil and junior Jack Stafford kept the Sailors offense from setting up close to the goal.

On one defensive stand, Riel sacrificed his body to save the ball from going into the back of the net. On the valiant play, he banged his head into the goalpost momentarily knocking him off his feet. He managed to finish out the rest of the game.

After battling for a goal for the better part of 50 minutes, Cuevas brought the Tigers within a goal when he fired a penalty kick past Welch. With 15 minutes remaining, Summit searched for another goal, now trailing 3-2.

Summit High School’s Owen Gallo fires a shot on goal during a match against Steamboat Springs High School during senior night at Climax Molybdenum Field at Tiger Stadium on Thursday, October 20, 2022, in Breckenridge. The Tigers were defeated by the Sailors 3-2.
Jason Connolly/For the Summit Daily News

Although the goal galvanized the team, Summit was not able to find an equalizer in the final minutes of the game. Summit fell to Steamboat Springs, 3-2.

“We are a little disappointed in how we played,” Cuevas said. “I think we did play hard though and we didn’t give up.” 

The loss moves Summit to 10-3-2 overall on the season and 6-2-2 in league play. Battle Mountain High School is now tied with Summit in the league rankings and is set to play its last game of the regular season on Saturday, Oct. 22.

With the regular season now complete, Summit will wait to find out where it placed in the league standings and where it lies in the 4A state playoff bracket on Sunday.

For now, all that Summit can do is rest up from its game against Steamboat and prepare for the playoffs.

“We have got to stay focused,” Cuevas said of the impending playoffs. “We took this ‘L’ and we moved on. We will come back strong.” 

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