Summit soccer fights through 2 OTs for draw with Eagle Valley
Summit vs. Eagle Valley
Score 1st 2nd OT1 OT2 Final
Summit 0 0 0 0 0
Eagle Valley 0 0 0 0 0
FRISCO — It was better and worse, all at once.
On a brisk Tuesday afternoon, the Summit girl’s varsity soccer team faced an equally-matched Eagle Valley crew (2-1 overall, 2-1 4A Western Slope) on the windy pitch at Summit High School. After a full 80 minutes, the teams entered overtime hungry for something — anything — to break an odd war of attrition that saw both sides playing their best and worst brands of soccer.
“I think they were a little nervous heading into (OT), but fatigue was an issue for us and them,” Summit head coach Tommy Gogolen said just before the JV game, when the sun dropped behind Peak One and the air at SHS turned frigid. “Wind was also a factor today. That’s kind of a bummer when Mother Nature dictates a game, but it happens.”
Those two 10-minute OTs were a miniature version of the game as a whole — occasional moments of brilliance followed by frustrating miscues — and when the final whistle blew, the game ended like it began: 0-0, with Summit commanding possession while Eagle Valley posted more shots on goal thanks to frequent breakaways.
“Our girls battled today,” Gogolen said. “We had two evenly-matched teams giving it their all.”
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For the first time in three years, that statement was true. Summit played neck-and-neck with Eagle Valley, even when the Demons defense started throwing more body shots than legal tackles. (And don’t even get started on the sloppy throw-ins.) The Tigers gave their cross-county foes plenty of trouble at midfield, stopping drive after drive and winning more 50/50 balls than they have all season. Passing was hit or miss on both sides of the ball — these defenses loved to kill momentum and grace by blindly booting the ball over the sideline — but the young Summit midfield is getting better, slowly and surely.
“I would’ve loved to have the win, and I know they would, too; but, as a coach, at the end, that’s all you can ask for,” Gogolen said.
A draw hardly means he’ll let his varsity squad rest on its laurels. There’s still work to be done: The Lady Tigers are 0-4-1 on the season and show plenty of promise, like just about anytime senior captain Lexi VanderHoeven goes one-on-one with an opposing attacker. But they’re still struggling with fundamental breakdowns, like just about anytime the midfielders or defenders send the ball out of bounds on first touch, or just about anytime VanderHoeven’s team puts her in a one-on-one showdown, which happens far too frequently. The team as a whole has had bright spots, like a 2-4 loss to Battle Mountain on March 10, and dark spots, like a 0-7 rout to Battle Mountain just a week later on March 18.
Pause. When one of your team’s galvanizing moments is a 2-4 loss, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The Huskies (currently 3-1 after a loss on Tuesday) are regularly in the post-season mix, along with Steamboat Springs — the 5-0 team that handed them their first defeat. But, when Summit’s record after that hard-fought game against the big, bad Huskies hasn’t improved, something is still missing.
And Gogolen knows what it is.
“We have to put the ball in the back of the net. It’s as simple as that,” he said. “We’ve been working on that and know it needs to happen.”
The Tigers have the tools to do it, including fierce sophomore forward Tanner McCann and her senior counterpart, Paloma Arredondo. Now all it takes is support from the young midfield.
Summit next plays Delta (1-3 overall, 0-3 4A Slope) at home on Friday. Varsity kick-off is 4 p.m.
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