Summit High boys soccer strong in rematch with Steamboat, still No. 1
The last time the Tigers played Steamboat Springs, they let a 2-0 halftime lead slip away. After a slow start in the second half and a late-game equalizer by Steamboat in the final five minutes of regulation, the game ended in a 2-2 tie.
Since that Sept. 9 game at Steamboat, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 19-2 and won six consecutive games, effectively turning a corner on their season and taking sole possession of the No.1 spot in the Western Slope.
With that early-season game on their mind and their No. 1 conference ranking on the line, the Tigers left little to chance in Tuesday night’s rematch at Tiger Stadium. After a back and fourth start, the Tigers put their foot on the gas and took control, this time topping the Sailors 3-0 for their seventh straight win.
“The boys knew what was at stake,” head coach Tommy Gogolen said after the game. “I’m super proud of them and impressed too.”
A late game three-on-one with the Sailors goalie could have easily put the Tigers up 4-0, but a center pass from Thomas DeBonville to Alex Veleta was intercepted for an impressive save.
“We did everything right,” Summit defender George Kasch said assessing his team’s performance. “Right now we’re at the top of the conference. We hope to keep it there and keep the wins coming.”
Had Steamboat come away with the win, they would have shared the same conference record with the Tigers and a slight edge with the win over Summit. Instead, the Tigers moved to 7-0-1 in conference play — ahead of 7-2 Battle Mountain, whom they beat once earlier in the season. The Sailors fell to third at 5-2-1 in-conference.
Battle Mountain will get its shot at a rematch at home in both teams’ final regular season game Oct. 15. Playoff berths could be on the line for both teams depending on how the final four regular season games play out.
While Steamboat had its opportunities in Tuesday night’s game, they were few and far between, a credit to a strong Tigers defense and another solid performance from Summit goalie Noah Glasco.
“Noah is one of the most important factors,” Kasch said, crediting his keeper. “No one has scored on us in the last three or four games. It’s been great.”
Summit’s first goal came with 24:35 left in the first half. Veleta took the ball past the defense on an impressive break. When his shot bounced off the hands of Sailors goalie Thomas DeBonville, he was able to punch it in for the score from the 18.
DeBonville accounted for two of Summit’s three goals, and added an assist on the third. His throw-in set up Haakon George for the Tigers’ second goal with just 33 seconds remaining in the first half.
With a first half that mirrored the teams’ first game, the Tigers adjusted, this time coming out strong in the second and leaving the Sailors with few opportunities to get back in the game.
The Tigers will host Glenwood, Eagle Valley and Delta to close out their four-game homestand, before wrapping up the season at Battle Mountain.
“It’s a great opportunity,” DeBonville said of their current position in the conference’s driver’s seat. “Hopefully we can keep it up.”
Gogolen added, “I’m really happy to be 9-1-1 (overall).” He also acknowledged the challenge going forward. “We have a target on our back, we know that.”
The team will have a little break before its next game against Glenwood, Tuesday, Oct. 7.
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