Bogart’s shot in the dark sends Fusion, Freeloaders to 1-1 coed tie |

Bogart’s shot in the dark sends Fusion, Freeloaders to 1-1 coed tie

Summit Daily/Reid Williams Anthony Miller, left, of the Freeloaders, and Craig Rogers, right, of Summit Fusion jockey for the ball on a breakaway in the first half of rec league action Wednesday night. Miller scored the sole goal of the first half.

BRECKENRIDGE – With a kaleidoscope of spinning shadows cast onto the field by Highway 9 headlights, Ryan Bogart’s goal in the dying minutes of Wednesday night’s High Country Soccer Association coed game lifted Summit Fusion to a 1-1 tie with the Freeloaders.The equalizing shot, which came well after twilight at Breckenridge’s Kingdom Park, kept Summit Fusion unbeaten at 3-0-3, and sent the Freeloaders to 1-2-3.Summit Fusion took charge in the early going, rattling the crossbar and just missing on several other scoring chances. Freeloaders keeper Stefan (like some of Europe’s soccer stars, he goes only by Stefan, according to his teammates and the league roster) made eight of his 10 saves in the first half, giving his team a chance to built some momentum. With dancing moves and sharp left-footed crosses, Ashley Hunt was impressive in helping the Freeloaders put pressure on Fusion goalie Rafe Sykes later in the first half. Sykes, who had eight saves in the game, showed off his hockey background with a reflexive kick-save to deny a point-blank chance that was the first of several sparkling opportunities for the Freeloaders.

On the ensuing corner kick, Hunt started a Freeloaders flurry with a high cross that was headed off the crossbar, and Sykes made a knifing leap to swat away the rebound.But the determined Freeloaders squad finally broke through late in the half when Anthony Miller gathered a kick-and-run loose ball, settled and fired from inside 18 yards. The shot stretched the far side of the net for a 1-0 Freeloaders lead. “I got the ball from midfield and turned the defender, and then it was just turn and shoot,” said Miller.The second half began as daylight was fading to dusk and the two teams jousted back and forth into the night. The Freeloaders, who upset defending champ Barkley’s to win this year’s HCSA coed summer league, were led by Hunt, Miller, Matt Hiner and crew. But they were unable to get an insurance goal despite finishing with 15 shots in the game.

This would prove costly as Summit Fusion turned up its attack with Jaya Spencer, Marcus Worthen and Bogart racking up several dangerous chances. As darkness fell and plays became more and more broken, it seemed Fusion had little chance of tying it up. But then Worthen exploited a defensive breakdown by the Freeloaders, sprinting past everyone and sending a perfect pass across the net to Bogart who one-touched the ball for an easy score. “Marcus had a clear breakaway down the left-center of the field and I just followed him,” said Bogart. “He touched it home and I just tapped it in. He made the play.”Fusion’s Jen Schilling shrugged off the difficulty of playing after dark, saying, “Most of our games have started at 5:30, so we haven’t had to deal with it much until now.”

Freeloaders players weren’t quite as indifferent about the days growing shorter. The 6:45 p.m. start time was less kind to them, contributing, in their eyes, to the broken play that tied the game. “When you can’t see, it’s hard to play the game,” said a frustrated Miller. “When the ball gets kicked it becomes a silhouette and you can’t see anything.” Miller’s teammate Todd Slater added: “I don’t see how the referees can see what’s going on. It’s hard.”See page A21 for updated league standings. Playoffs kick off Oct. 4, with the championship match set for Oct. 6.

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