Summit girls soccer barely escapes home shutout against Palisade, 1-6 |

Summit girls soccer barely escapes home shutout against Palisade, 1-6

Phil Lindeman
Piper Kunst challenges a Palisade player for the ball Saturday during a girls soccer match in Breckenridge.
Eli Pace / |

Summit vs. Palisade — April 8

1st 2nd Final

Summit 0 1 1

VC 4 2 6

It doesn’t bode well when you team’s only chances come on free kicks from 35 yards out.

That was the unfortunate case on a brisk and breezy Saturday morning, when the Summit High girls soccer team hosted the league-leading Palisade Bulldogs (5-1 overall, 5-1 4A Western Slope) for the second and final time this season. The Lady Tigers lost, 0-4, to the Bulldogs in the season opener on March 11, and despite a few decent hits from junior Tanner McCann on that 35-yard line, the home team couldn’t find momentum for another loss, 1-6.

This one was an ugly uphill battle from the beginning. Palisade scored three in the first 20 minutes alone, setting the tone early by putting the Summit defenders on their heels. The girls stayed there for most of the game — possession was easily 70/30 in favor of the Bulldogs — and yet they still managed to stop more than a few close calls. Senior Georgia Gambino did a wonderful job protecting the middle of the back line, while freshman keeper Anna Tomlinson is getting better and gutsier with every game. Palisade’s quick front line hardly let up, but Summit stood its ground, and it was the difference between a painful loss and an absolute heartbreaker. Because believe me: The score could’ve been worse.

Thing is, Palisade didn’t seem like an earth-shattering force to be reckoned with. The best team in the 4A Slope is simply profecient. The Bulldogs midfield is tight, crisp and smart, with confident passing and great movement, but after jumping on Summit early, the front line settled into a lull and scored just once more to dig Summit’s hole a little deeper, 0-4.

In the second half, Palisade again outshot and out-touched Summit with two more goals, but the home team was making the most of scant chances. Junior striker Piper Kunst was playing with more energy and ferocity than most of her team — she created a few breakaway opportunities by simply getting in the defense’s face — and McCann had four chances on free kicks from around the 35-yard line. Each one sailed over or past the net, until, in the final three minutes, she corralled a ricocheted free kick and deftly dribbled around a lone defender, setting the shot up on her left foot for a rocket that went through the Palisade keeper’s hands. It was kind of a fluke, but at least it saved the shutout, 1-6.

Summit is now 2-8 overall and 2-6 in the 4A Slope. The team next faces rivals Battle Mountain (one of Summit’s two wins) at home on Tuesday, April 11. Kick-off is at 4 p.m.

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