Summit soccer grows closer to the playoffs with 2-1 win over Eagle Valley
The Summit High School boys soccer team has reached the point in the season where every win counts.
Not only do wins matter if the team wants to make the 4A state playoffs, but every win is needed if the team wants to win the 4A Western Slope League.
Coming into Tuesday night’s game against the Eagle Valley Devils on Oct. 18, the Summit soccer team sported a record of 9-2-2 overall and 5-1-2 in the league, with Eagle Valley potentially in contention for a league title with a 5-2-2 league record.
A win would solidify the Tigers’ spot at the top of the league rankings, and Summit managed a 2-1 win over Eagle Valley after 80 minutes of high-intensity soccer.
Both teams started off sizing one another up as they settled into the pace of the game. After several minutes, Summit had several opportunities to score but the chances failed to result in a goal.
Summit continued to have good touches and passes earlier in the first half, which produced some offensive chances for the Tigers. On the other side of the field, Eagle Valley struggled to get its offense going. The Devils tried to match the Tigers’ offense, but the Summit backfield — made up of senior Evan Reil and sophomore Reece Bosgraaf — kept the ball out of the Devils’ reach.
At the end of the first half, Eagle Valley started to find an answer to Summit’s offense. Defensive stops from Eagle Valley quickly developed into offensive opportunities and Eagle Valley scored the first goal of the game with five minutes remaining in the first half.
The goal developed when an Eagle Valley forward broke past Summit’s defense to chase after a loose ball. With only junior goalie Abdoul Kane to beat, the orward sniped a shot past Kane to give the Devils a 1-0 lead going into halftime.
Kane was subbed out with senior goalkeeper Trevor Hodges to start the second half, and the Tigers attempted to even the score.
Twelve minutes into the fresh half, senior Owen Gallo answered Summit’s call for a goal. Dribbling through a group of four Eagle Valley defenders, Gallo fired a shot over the head of the Eagle Valley goaltender from about 30 yards out to tie the game at 1-1.
With chants of “Owen” ringing out from the Summit student section, the Tigers pressed for another goal.
Nineteen minutes into the second half, and seven minutes after the Gallo goal, senior Fabian Cuevas crossed a choice corner kick in front of the net which was sent into the back of the net off the head of a Summit forward.
The goal put the Tigers up 2-1 and electrified the team to close out the remainder of the game.
Closing out the game was a challenge, as Eagle Valley upped its intensity to try to even the score before the end of regulation.
The intensity started to take its toll on Eagle Valley towards the end of the game as several athletes suffered injuries.
Despite the injuries, Eagle Valley put together several chances with under four minutes remaining. The chances put the Tigers on their toes and kept spectators in their seats. Bosgraaf and Reil defended several corner kicks to secure the 2-1 win for Summit.
“Us and the defense just knew we had to play lockdown defense for the team that scored for us,” Bosgraaf said. “Those last few corner kicks got really stressful, especially the last 10 seconds. I don’t know about any of my teammates but I was stressed going into that box knowing that this was the last chance they had. We pulled it out as a team and got the win.”
Summit now is 10-2-2 overall and 6-1-2 in league play on the season. The Tigers are now ranked first in the 4A Western Slope rankings with Battle Mountain being ranked second and Eagle Valley in third place.
“I think tonight really showed our team’s character,” Gallo said of the win. “We had one goal heading into tonight. That was winning in order to get one step closer to winning the league. Even when we went down everyone kept that in their mind and kept working. We were really playing to our team’s identity.”
A win over Steamboat Springs on Thursday, Oct. 20 would secure Summit the league title and most likely secure a home playoff game in the 4A state playoffs.
“We want to go in there, get the job done, get the ‘W’ and have fun,” Gallo said. “It’s going to be one of our last games so I think everyone just wants to go out there and have fun with their friends for the last couple of times.”
Summit will kickoff against Steamboat Springs for the team’s senior night at 6 p.m. from Tiger Field in Breckenridge.
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