Without defensive captain, Summit boys soccer falls 3-0 to rival on homecoming | SummitDaily.com

Without defensive captain, Summit boys soccer falls 3-0 to rival on homecoming

Summit returns to the road Thursday after 2nd loss of season to Battle Mountain

Tigers Fabian Cuevas, No. 21, and Owen Gallo, No. 22, work to regain possession from a Huskies player late in the second half during the Summit High School homecoming match against Battle Mountain on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News

Without its defensive captain, the Summit High School varsity boys soccer team (2-3-1) lost a tough 3-0 match against rival Battle Mountain on Tuesday, Sept. 21.

The second loss to the reigning 4A/3A Western Slope East League champion Huskies came as Summit senior center back Collin Doran was unavailable to play due to an unspecified absence. Without Doran, Tigers head coach Jotwan Daniels paired Doran’s usual center back partner, senior Lucas Sudduth, with a veteran defender in Sam Daly. Though Daniels commended Daly and Sudduth for their tough anchoring of the Tigers defense, the offensive strength, speed and passing precision of the Huskies proved too much.

“Today, it showed how much Collin is important to us beyond just making tackles — that ability to read the play, to be at the right spots at the right moment,” Daniels said.

Since Battle Mountain defeated Summit 2-1 in the season-opening game Aug. 24 in Edwards, the Huskies (5-2) are undefeated in league play and have settled in to win four more games. The previous win over the Tigers was the start of a current five-game winning streak. But early in Tuesday’s matchup, Summit played right there with Battle Mountain in front of a raucous homecoming crowd that was by far the largest at Tiger Stadium in recent memory.

“We love the energy, and we love our supporters. They are with us through thick and thin,” Daniels said. “I love the fact that we can still have a packed house and everybody basically maintains the energy through the whole game. It didn’t wane at all.”

On the night, Battle Mountain received goals from senior Leo Soto, Samuel Koontz and Alexis Dozal, the first of which came about 10 minutes into the action. Despite the early Huskies goal, Tigers senior captain Andrew Martin gutted through a lingering groin injury to spearhead a fervent, swarming Tigers midfield that worked hard to possess the ball as much as the opposition.

With Martin and junior Fabian Cuevas on the verge of making plays in the first half, Summit’s best chance of the night came on a corner kick. Late in the second half, it was Sudduth who rose up on a corner kick to redirect a header off Battle Mountain’s crossbar, coming inches from a tied game.

“I thought it was going to go in,” Cuevas said. “It hit the crossbar, and I thought one of us was going to get it off the rebound.”

⚽️ LIVE: Summit Tigers vs. Battle Mountain homecoming boys soccer ⚽️ Join sports and outdoors editor Antonio Olivero for the live broadcast…

Posted by Summit Daily News on Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Then, in the closing minutes of the first half, Battle Mountain nearly doubled its lead on a penalty kick when a Tigers defender bumped a Husky in the box. But Summit junior goalkeeper Trevor Hodges picked the right side and stonewalled and corralled the penalty-kick attempt to give the team momentum going into halftime.

“That brought us up a little because we were thinking that it might go in,” Cuevas said. “We believed in Trevor. After he saved it we got more energy. We wanted to keep going and going until the end.”

But the second half would be all Battle Mountain, as the Huskies expanded some of the success they had in the first half advancing threats up the field with through-the-air long balls. Battle Mountain also won more time of possession in the second half, leading to more goals for the 3-0 final score line, the final score coming in a late-game situation where Summit threw caution to the wind and advanced players forward, leaving space for the Battle Mountain midfield and attack to take advantage of.

⚽️ LIVE: Summit Tigers vs. Battle Mountain homecoming boys soccer ⚽️ Join sports and outdoors editor Antonio Olivero for the live broadcast, Tigers trail 1-0 at half…

Posted by Summit Daily News on Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Though Doran won’t be back for Summit’s road trip Thursday, Sept. 23, to Salida (0-6), Daniels said players will look to build off the loss to Battle Mountain with more focus and strength. The coach said Cuevas and Martin played well for Summit on Tuesday while senior center forward Gannon Heisler showed aggression in strong second-half minutes and junior senior Noe Leyva held it down at right back. Sudduth, Cuevas, Martin, junior Owen Gallo and sophomore Santiago Casco each registered shots on goal while Hodges made five saves to the three Summit forced Battle Mountain senior keeper Cruz Ramirez to stop.

“I’d argue that’s probably the toughest 3-0 loss I’ve been a part of as a head coach,” Daniels said. “It says 3-0 on the scoreboard, but what the box score doesn’t show is we were in that game through 20 to 30 minutes of the second half. … The second goal and third goal were very preventable in our end. I think we just gave them a little too much time in the midfield. A skillful team like that will find opportunities to put it in the top shelf. And I think that second goal just really broke our backs for a lack of a better term, and it was really hard for us to get back into it.”

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