Watch: Summit boys soccer seizes snowy senior night moment
Tigers upset Glenwood Springs 4-0 with 1st-half surge
As wet spring snow blanketed the Tiger Stadium pitch, Summit High School head coach Tommy Gogolen challenged his Tigers varsity soccer team.
Ahead of their senior night game versus a favored Glenwood Springs team, Gogolen decided to roll with nine seniors in the starting lineup, and he felt the inclement April weather was presenting these high-mountain boys with a snowy opportunity to seize.
“This is our field — embrace it,” the coach said.
The Summit coach made it clear he expected the team to be aggressive on 50-50 balls in the opening moments as players felt out the traction on the field turf in their final home game of the season. The strategy led to a goal just moments into the game from senior captain striker Andre Ayala. Ayala received a pass from fellow senior Esteban Fernandez and got a shot on net from outside the top of the box. In the slippery snow the ball befuddled Glenwood Springs goalkeeper Jan Carlo Arreola, and Summit already had their edge.
“I heard Ivan (Gutierrez) scream ‘shoot it,’” Ayala said. “So I closed my eyes, shot it and I saw it drizzled in.”
Gogolen said for Ayala to take the sudden lead on the favored Devils (5-4) ratcheted up the Tigers’ (4-5) team-wide energy. He said the electricity went “from what was already an eight to a 10.”
The goal led to a waterfall of four first-half goals that sent Ayala and Summit’s eight other seniors into a halftime ceremony with their parents in elated spirits.
“The only thing we needed was a goal. After the goal, everybody got intense, and we kept fighting and fighting till we got more goals,” senior captain midfielder Alex Casillas said.
Ayala followed up his first goal with hustle and effort that led to Summit’s second tally in the 18th minute. After Alex Casillas won the ball in the midfield and advanced it to Ayala, the striker pushed the possession deep into Glenwood’s box. The aggression drew the Demons keeper out of his frame again, the ball squirted loose to junior wing Gannon Heisler, who found the back of an empty net for a 2-0 lead.
Glenwood Springs nearly responded a moment later to seize some momentum and draw within 2-1, but the Tigers managed to fend off the scoring attempt. For the only time on the night, senior keeper Wylam Mocatta was beat, and Tigers junior Samuel Daly hustled back to punch the ball off the line and prevent the referee from calling a goal in the split-second, snowy situation.
Then in the 24th minute Tigers senior captain midfielder Gutierrez matched Ayala’s senior scoring moment with one of his own. Gutierrez unleashed a wonderstrike — one Gogolen said may have been Summit’s best goal of the year — from outside the Demon’s 18-yard box. The screamer soared over the keeper’s head and into the back of the net. Gogolen praised Gutierrez for his impeccable touch with his inside foot to not send the ball over the crossbar.
“That was really pretty to watch,” Gogolen said. “One of the goals of the season for me. At that moment, up 2-0, it iced the game. And who better to do it than my senior captain?”
Photo by Jason Connolly / Jason Connolly Photography
Summit’s fourth and final goal came from junior Alan Casillas in the 28th minute on a rebound attempt after Gallo McMahon and Gutierrez did well to advance Summit’s possession.
Alan Casillas nearly hammered home a fifth a moment later, but it smacked off the crossbar.
The second half was a gritty effort by Mocatta, who registered 17 saves. He was both dynamic with his feet, making several kick saves, and sure-handed with his mitts, keeping Glenwood strikes right where he wanted them.
“Wylam was absolutely outstanding,” Gogolen said. “It was by far his best game of the season, without a doubt.”
At the end of the game — after the nine seniors who also started the game played through the final whistle — Mocatta ran out of his net. He was looking to celebrate, not sure if he needed to evade a snowy dog pile of teammates. The keeper found his dog pile a moment later. It came after the final celebratory chant, when the team broke the huddle and Gogolen told them to dive and slide into the Tiger Stadium snow one final time — together.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.