Tigers blank Kent behind Spaulding’s goal
FARMER’S KORNER – To the casual Summit High School boys soccer team observer, Saturday’s 1-0 win over visiting Kent Denver was little more than win No. 2 on the season, the 4A Tigers’ second straight victory over a top-tier 3A team. Yet to SHS head coach Peter Shafroth, “It was personal.”Shafroth spent nearly two decades of his high school coaching career at Kent Denver, and entered Saturday’s match 0-for-6 against the Sun Devils since he arrived at Summit. He’d tied them a few times, sure, but the win-column bagel gnawed at him.Thanks to Jeff Spaulding’s goal in the eighth minute, the futile feeling is no more.Spaulding, a junior, powered through a Kent defender then sidestepped keeper Ryan Bernstein and softly tapped the ball into the net for the early lead. Surprisingly, the goal held up.
Shafroth said the only win in his seven years at Summit that topped Saturday’s home opener was last year’s thrilling overtime road playoff victory over Golden, which sent the Tigers into the state quarterfinals.”This was a close second,” Shafroth said, “to be able to beat your old team, especially after six long years of not beating them.”SHS senior goalie Garrett Hedman’s only real test came in the waning moments of the first half, when he snared a Sun Devils rifle with his fingertips to preserve the goose egg. He and junior Bryant Reinking have been platooning thus far this season, and after Saturday’s match Shafroth said he has no plans to change that.”They’re both playing well, and I want to reward them for playing well,” the coach said.Summit (2-3) did just enough to win the possession game and prevent Kent (3-1) from mounting even one dangerous scoring chance in the second half. The Sun Devils had two free kicks off of stoppages late in the match, but failed to get off a shot both times.
The most tense moments of the day occured midway through the second half, when a violent collision between sophomores Taylor Lynch of Summit and Kent’s Scott Brown left Brown facedown on the field with a neck injury. School officials called 911, and Brown was eventually taken off the field on a backboard before he left in an ambulance.He was able to move his feet and hands before being removed from the field, and the injuries did not appear to be serious.Surprisingly, about five minutes into the 20-minute stoppage of play, the match referee presented Lynch with a yellow card. “He said, ‘We’ve been talking as a group of refs, and we decided we should give you a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct,'” Lynch said the ref told him. “But we were just both going for the ball.””That annoyed me,” Shafroth said of the delayed yellow card, adding that he thought the play was clean.
Regardless, the incident didn’t seem to rattle Lynch, who used both feet to help speedy senior Victor Casillas lead the Tigers defense. Casillas, who combines nifty ball skills, blinding speed and good decision making, was the best player on the field Saturday.Co-captain Grant McGahey led Summit on offense with a number of strong shots on goal.The Tigers host Conifer in their Jeffco League opener Wednesday at 6 p.m.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at email@example.com.
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