Tigers soccer take down the Devils at home, 3-2 | SummitDaily.com

Tigers soccer take down the Devils at home, 3-2

Summit vs. Eagle Valley soccer — Sept. 27

1st 2nd Final

Summit 1 2 3

EVHS 1 1 2

FRISCO — The rivalry came down to a free kick.

On Tuesday night, Summit Tigers soccer hosted the Eagle Valley Devils at home for the first meeting of the season between two heated rivals. Eagle Valley entered the match looking as dangerous as ever, including a 2-1 overtime win against Battle Mountain to start league play in August. Summit was coming off a devastating 5-0 rout at Palisade and a clutch 4-2 win against Steamboat Springs for homecoming week. At stake this warm, late-September evening: the No. 2 position in the 4A Western Slope behind Battle Mountain.

Both sides played rough, tough and sometimes sloppy soccer — just what you’d expect when league standings and rivalry bragging rights are at stake. There were smart transitions and stonewall defensive stops in the first half, followed by penalties, pinball goals and a game-winning free kick in the second. When the buzzer sounded Summit came away with the win, 3-2. Summit improves to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in the 4A Slope.

“Tonight was a big game,” head coach Tommy Gogolen said. “I’ll be frank: It wasn’t our best. But we got through tonight with some heart and some grit.”

The Tigers and Devils both scored early in the first half. By the 25th minute things slowed for Summit and Eagle Valley picked up the slack with a few dangerous one-offs in Tigers territory. They were led by the Devils’ fast and accurate front line: junior captain Christer Serna had one big shot from 25 yards out that barely sailed over the upright, and junior Leo Rosales had two low shots from the outside that nearly rolled in. But Summit junior keeper Kyle Wertz was on his game, as usual, and kept the net clear.

The second half started with more pressure from the Devils until Tigers senior forward Salvador Zambrano came into the game. He played genius ball in the win over Steamboat — he was able to maintain control longer than just about anyone on either team — and continued with patient, heads-up play against Eagle Valley.

Then there was fellow senior Cole Catron, who had two goals against Steamboat for his first two of the season. He might play mid, but he’s a major threat from far out. Catron had a rocket in the 64th minute that nicked the crossbar, bounced down behind the keeper and then swirled out of the goal. From where I was I couldn’t see if it crossed the goal line, and besides, this is high school ball. No instant replay.

Eagle Valley came right back on transition in the 67th minute. Senior forward Carlos Chavez took advantage of confusion in the goal box when Wertz left the line, leaving just one defender in the goal. The senior scored easily to go up, 1-2.

It was do-or-die time for the Tigers — and they did. In the 69th minute, senior mid Alfonso Zuno pulled a Chavez and found the ball when his team collapsed on the Devils’ net. He tied things, 2-2, with 11 minutes remaining.

Now it was Zambrano’s turn. On a contested free kick just outside the goal box — Eagle Valley wised up to Catron’s nasty right foot and swarmed him for a penalty — Gogolen sent Zambrano out to take the kick. The senior didn’t mess around with junk like bending the ball, and instead sent a nasty boot directly over a wall of defenders and the keeper’s head to give his team the lead, 3-2.

Eagle Valley had two good chances in the last 10 minutes, including a corner kick in the final 10 seconds. The Tigers cleared that ball as the small student section counted down — “Six! Five! Four! Three!” — to take the win.

Summit next faces Glenwood Springs (4-5 overall, 2-4 league) away on Sept. 29 before Battle Mountain (7-2 overall, 5-1 league) at home on Oct. 4.

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