Watch: Injury-riddled Summit High boys soccer lose 5-0 to Battle Mountain
It was 495 days since Battle Mountain’s varsity boys soccer team has played a game on the pitch, but it didn’t look like it Saturday, March 20, at Tiger Stadium. After a competitive first half, the Huskies (1-0) reeled off four second-half goals to pull away from the rival Tigers (0-2) to kick-start Battle Mountain’s 10-game spring season.
Tigers head coach Tommy Gogolen said he was proud of the team’s effort and execution in the first half’s 40 minutes despite playing several men down. Summit was without arguably their best player in junior captain midfielder Andrew Martin and fellow captain and attacking midfielder/forward Andre Ayala. Even with those absences — and even with several new players in the starting lineup and others playing different positions — the Tigers held strong with their defensive shape early, keeping the game tied 0-0 through 35 minutes.
“Tommy had that team spirited and ready,” Huskies head coach David Cope said. “They were making the game difficult for us.”
Gogolen said the Tigers defense played well in the first half after not practicing Friday, rather spending two hours watching film. The decision after the Thursday loss to the Sailors led to Colin Doran and Lucas Sudduth anchoring the center backfield.
In the 35th minute, Braulio Aguayo put it past Tigers starting keeper Jesus “Che Che” Alvarado Lopez on an assist from Jonathan Munoz. Cope said Battle Mountain’s Alex Mesa found Munoz on a backheel, leading to a goal “that was important for our confidence to get to halftime with a goal.”
“The players were starting to get a little frustrated,” Cope said.
The game swung just moments later when Tigers defensive back Jaden Smith was sent off the pitch after receiving a red card for taunting. The red card resulted in a 10-versus-9, man-up situation for Battle Mountain, as the Huskies continued to dominate possession before taking the 1-0 lead into the end of the half.
At half, Gogolen was content with Summit’s performance, as it was much stronger than their showing in a 3-0 season-opening loss to Steamboat Springs Thursday night. Namely, Gogolen was happy with sophomore Fabian Cuevas’ play at forward at the top of Summit’s formation and Owen Gallo McMahon’s presence at central attacking midfielder.
“The positive we are going to be taking away from today is Battle Mountain is a top-five team in the state and we went toe-to-toe with them for 30 minutes and had one letdown in the first half,” Gogolen said. “Obviously with the red card that put us on our heels and set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Come the second half, the Huskies continued to dominate possession and pace, particularly in the midfield, leading to a 2-0 lead at the 45th minute of the game when junior midfielder Ivan Solis scored via an assist from senior striker Kevin Chavez. Cope said it was beautiful to see the striker Chavez play unselfishly and set up Solis for the goal. The coach also said the Huskies benefited from playing against the wind in the second half as opposed to with the wind in the first half on a gusty day at Farmers Korner.
Summit High boys soccer head coach Tommy Gogolen speaks to his team at the high school’s indoor turf field on Tuesday, March 16. The Tigers begin a 10-game season on Thursday with their first home game against Steamboat Springs. | Photo by Jason Connolly / Jason Connolly Photography
Then moments later, the game turned on its head again, as a second yellow card — which resulted in a red card — forced Solis out of the game. That meant the Tigers had 30-plus minutes to try to come back from the 2-goal deficit in 9-v-9 soccer.
But Battle Mountain didn’t relent offensively, their control of the midfield leading to several goals for Huskies as Battle Mountain sprung goal scorers forward thanks to spacing in the center of the pitch. The second half success for Battle Mountain led to nifty, skillful goals in the 51st, 68th and 70th minutes — including a penalty kick — that put the game away.
Looking ahead, Gogolen said Summit hopefully will get Martin and Ayala back in their next game 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, at Glenwood Springs. That said, Summit may not have attacking player Alex Casillas back, as Casillas injured his right ankle early in the second half Saturday.
“We need to be better building up possession,” Gogolen said of Summit’s struggle to score a goal through two games. “When we get in the final third there’s a little bit of too much excitement. We need patience.”
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