Summit soccer team earns first trip to state
FARMER’S KORNER – So much for a rebuilding year.
Going into Tuesday’s Class 4A Jeffco League soccer match between Summit High School and Englewood, both teams knew the winner would be guaranteed a trip to state. It was an unlikely place for the Tigers, who graduated 12 seniors after last season and never finished a 4A season with a winning record.
But, when Tyler Brooks scored a goal with under 10 minutes remaining and Summit’s defense held off a furious late-match rally by the Pirates, it was Summit who celebrated a 3-2 win, which guaranteed it a state berth and its first winning season in 4A.
“I’m really happy,” Tigers head coach Peter Shafroth said.
“I said at the beginning of the year that we would be rebuilding. In a rebuilding year, though, you don’t go to state.”
After Tuesday’s game, Summit stands at 5-1 in the league, tied with Golden and one game back of 6-0 Evergreen, the only team to beat the Tigers. With two matches remaining, Summit guaranteed itself the tiebreaker advantage over Evergreen, which falls into fourth place.
“I told the team, “We can be happy, or we can go out and keep accomplishing things,'” Shafroth said.
“Now we know we can compete with the best teams in the state.”
With two games remaining, the Tigers can still win the league, but they must get past Conifer Friday on the road and Monday’s game against Golden at home.
And they’re going to need Chris Nowakiwsky to repeat the game he had on Tuesday.
With 9:46 on the clock, Nowakiwsky, with two goals and the game-winning assist, found Brooks cutting through the middle and set a perfect pass to his right foot.
The defense, which saw Nowakiwsky burn them twice already, gave him too much attention and left Brooks free.
“I thought about (shooting),” Nowakiwsky said. “But I saw Tyler cutting. He put on a great finish.”
Nowakiwsky was simply returning the favor.
In the 13th minute, Brooks sent a long ball to Nowakiwsky, who beat two defenders off the dribble. With nothing separating him and the goalie, Nowakiwsky sent a low liner that found an open window in the net.
Less than a minute later, Nowakiwsky was tackled illegally near the corner post and given a penalty shot. He put the ball in the same spot and, the Tigers went ahead 2-0.
However, Englewood managed to control the ball most of the first half. The Pirates doubled the Tigers’ shots on goal, but Kylor Dossett made a pair of diving saves to control the damage. In the 30th minute, though, the Pirates’ Miah Harmon found an open lane up the middle, slowed the ball and slammed it inside the post.
In the 55th minute, Englewood tied the score when Mike Robertson became wide open off a free kick and scored on a point-blank shot. The Pirates also had two balls hit the crossbar and a wide-open look with 15 minutes left sail high.
“We had good chances and we didn’t finish,” Pirates head coach Rick Onodera said. The Pirates thought they had a penalty kick with two minutes left, but the referee called a tackle – which left Harmon on the ground injured – legal.
“You can deal with the officiating,” Onodera said, “but the back and forth inconsistencies, we couldn’t deal with. When one call is a tackle and the other isn’t, it was shocking.”
Summit’s final home game is scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Tigers Stadium. State begins Oct. 17.
Ryan Slabaugh can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 257, or at email@example.com.
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