Summit soccer pads the stats against Rifle on prom night, 10-0
Summit vs. Rifle — April 29
1st 2nd Final
Summit 9 1 10
Rifle 0 0 0
Let’s start by clearing the air: no one likes to see the mercy rule in a high school soccer game. It’s icky for the winners and deflating for the losers, and when one team travels nearly three hours just to get pummeled, it adds insult to injury. (To be fair, though, Rifle teams rarely have mercy on Summit in other sports.)
OK, so, let’s get to the brighter side of Summit’s 10-0 rout of Rifle on a cold and dreary Saturday morning before prom. For starters, it brings the Summit varsity record to 3-9 overall and 3-7 in the 4A Western Slope with three games remaining. That’s not the .500-or-above record the team always aims for, but with a strong showing in the final three next week — and the Rifle game showed what this team can do when focused and unhurried — seniors Marin Pennell and Sarah Sones will end with a season to be proud of.
Then came the players. There was junior Piper Kunst, a welcome addition to the Lady Tigers front line who’s shown plenty of promise with heads-up play and pinpoint ball control. She had a hat trick. There were sophomore Sydney Kerstiens and junior Shannon Hogeman, two true midfielders who had assists on the first two goals — Summit scored four times in the opening 10 minutes — and finally got goals of their own: Kerstiens with a sweet breakaway and cannonball strike from the 20-yard line, Hogeman with a drive through tight defensive traffic. And of course there was Tanner McCann, a junior who’s been the team’s most consistent scoring threat since she was a sophomore. She left her mark with two goals in the first half, both scored by slipping past the defense for one-on-ones with the Rifle keeper, which brings her season total to 16 goals.
By the end of the first half, when Summit was up 9-0 and needed one more to get a jump start on prom prep, head coach Tommy Gogolen had pulled his varsity starters and replaced them with a bunch of new faces: freshman Violet Heisler, plus a few JV players who aren’t even on the varsity roster and played in borrowed jerseys.
Gogolen’s move made sense: Rifle has struggled to field a team most of this season, and so they came to Summit with a depleted squad that was more JV than varsity, Summit athletic director Amy Raymond told me. The school was on the verge of canceling games this season, she continued, but managed to scrape together a full side to finish out the varsity schedule.
Mercy rule or no, it takes guts to play above your ability level. I remember the first time I played up from JV to varsity, and the sheer speed of the game was enough to throw me off. I felt outclassed and outgunned. The Summit JV players adapted well — this girls program has a solid foundation — and the Rifle players never once gave up (even though the team record shows that Saturday wasn’t the first time they’ve been on the wrong side of a 10-0 result).
But maybe the best storyline from this chilly pre-prom showcase came from senior mid Sones and junior defender Haleigh Lecklitner. The two have started most of the season, but they’ve rarely been deep enough into enemy territory for their first-ever career goals. When Summit entered the second half up 9-0, Gogolen let Lecklitner and Sones lead the attack — and the two went nuts. Lecklitner and Sones both had four shots apiece, and so you know it was only a matter of time before one of them got the go-ahead 10th goal.
The moment finally came in the 51st minute, when after three failed breakaways Sones finally escaped two-man coverage and chipped the ball past the Rifle keeper for the win, 10-0, and her first career high school goal.
“It was good,” Sones said after the game, when she was all smiles and probably thinking ahead to dinner, dancing, dresses and her final prom date. “It was pretty cool because I got it, and I only have one (home) game left ever.”
Summit’s final home game is Tuesday, May 2, against Glenwood Springs for Senior Night. Kickoff is 4 p.m.
Editor’s note: This article has been revised to correct three inaccuracies. Senior Georgia Gambino is no longer with the team. Junior Shannon Hogeman had one assist in the first 10 minutes and freshman Taylor Ash did not play.
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