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Bad bounce beats Summit soccer

BRYCE EVANS
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado

FARMER’S KORNER – In what was arguably their most intense effort of the season, the Tiger defense was dominant Thursday at home. Summit defenders blocked shots, cleared the ball and kept attackers to the outside, all while goalie Hailey Curnutte made an astounding 24 saves.

In the end, the only thing the Tigers couldn’t prevent was a case of bad luck.

A funny bounce on a long shot led to the only goal of the game, leaving the Summit High girls’ soccer team with a disappointing 1-0 loss in its season finale at home against a talented Elizabeth squad.

“Even though they won, I feel we won, personally,” Curnutte said. “We came close (to scoring) a lot of times, but we just weren’t completely there.”

The loss marked the end to a season that was a struggle for the Tigers. Although they were competitive in nearly every game, the Tigers managed just two wins.

“It was still a good year, definitely a rebuilding year,” head coach Tommy Gogolen said. “I felt bad for the seniors. It’s tough losing like that, but they hung in there and played well.”

And those seniors had to endure one more tough loss on Thursday – albeit in a game Summit virtually dominated.

The Tigers started the game on their heels, with Elizabeth applying a lot of offensive pressure.

The visiting Cardinals threatened to score only 3 minutes into the match, but Curnutte was there for a diving save on a shot from a sharp angle.

Sophomore defender Bianca Bolcato helped out the Tigers with a quick clear as the ball hung in the box a moment later, and senior Hanna Banks broke up a 3-on-1 break for Elizabeth midway through the half.

Although a free kick by Banks, which deflected off an Elizabeth defender at the goal mouth, was the closest the Tigers came to scoring in the opening 40 minutes, they clung to a 0-0 tie at the break.

Once the second half started, though, the Tigers began to take over.

“It’s hard playing teams that are always better than us, but we had a shot, and they realized that and picked up their effort,” Gogolen said.

Summit controlled the ball early on, challenging the Elizabeth defenders and having three free kicks off hand balls nearly sneak into the net.

Then, with 27:20 remaining, Elizabeth got a game-winning break.

A Cardinal attacker sent a high shot toward the SHS net from nearly 30 yards away. The ball bounced and skidded off the snow-soaked turf a few feet in front of Curnutte then slid over her shoulder and into the net.

“It was just a bad bounce,” Gogolen said. “I always tell the girls they need to fight over the ball when it’s urgent. They did. They just happened to be unlucky.”

The Tigers continued to apply the pressure offensively in an attempt to get the equalizer, but never got one past the Elizabeth goalkeeper.

Summit had to settle for another – and a final – loss.

“I think it was the best game this season,” said Curnutte, a sophomore. “Everyone went all out because the seniors, it was there last game.”

The Tigers finished the season with a 2-13 record and will return all but five players from this year’s squad – Banks, Hannah Marion, Lyndsey Peoples, Kaitie Pusey and Kelly McDonald.

“All of our seniors played great (Thursday),” Gogolen said. “They were all captains for the game and they all played like it.”

Bryce Evans can be reached at (970) 668-4634 or at bevans@summitdaily.com.


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