Glenwood Springs boys soccer rides momentum, rolls past Summit into state playoff position
Two days after knocking off Steamboat Springs in a thrilling 4-3 come-from-behind win, the Glenwood Springs Demons boys soccer team returned home Thursday night for a showdown with the Summit Tigers at Stubler Memorial Field with a big opportunity lying in front of them.
The Demons took advantage of that opportunity, rolling to a 4-1 win behind two goals from senior Leo Mireles, and one goal each from juniors German Alvarado and Alan Videla, vaulting the Demons into a state playoff position in 4A.
“It was a big win for us,” Glenwood Springs Head Coach Wayne Smith said. “They have a lot of confidence that they can play with anybody in the league. We drew with Battle Mountain on the road a week ago, and that really started this rise in confidence for us. Then we went and beat Steamboat up there, and we hadn’t won there in a long time. We’re thinking that’s the first time we beat Steamboat at their place in about nine years.
“The kids have definitely turned some things around mentally and from a confidence perspective, and since that loss at Montrose earlier in the year we’ve gotten progressively better.”
By turning things around on the year, Glenwood finds itself in playoff position with a real crack at winning the league championship down the line. Accomplishing that feat would do wonders for the program, which hasn’t won a league championship dating back to the late 1990s. The first step in a long line of work toward that goal started Thursday night with Summit.
Glenwood came out fast Thursday night as Mireles started the scoring for the Demons with a highlight-reel worthy left-footed strike from the top of the 18-yard box, beating the Summit keeper into the upper left corner of the net, pushing the Demons to an important 1-0 lead just eight minutes into the game.
Following Mireles’ strike, Glenwood had another chance in front as sophomore Justin Garces found himself open in front of the net, but the Summit goalkeeper pushed his shot over the crossbar, keeping it a 1-0 game.
That save proved to loom large because Summit struck 17 minutes into the game off of a free kick from 35 yards out. Facing a high free kick, Glenwood goalkeeper Carlos Guardado knocked the ball down in the box, but Summit’s Farid Infante corralled the loose ball and slotted home the shot, tying the game at 1-1 midway through the first half.
Late in the half, Mireles dialed more magic, this time on a free kick from 40 yards out. Following a Summit foul, Mireles let fly on the free kick. Summit’s keeper tried to make the catch, but the ball slipped through his gloves into the net with 10:25 left in the half, giving Glenwood a 2-1 lead.
Alvarado made it 3-1 Glenwood with three minutes left in the half, thanks to a great ball off of a corner kick from Mireles at the near post. Alvarado redirected the ball inside the near right post, pushing the Demons to a two-goal advantage that proved to be more than enough on the night.
“We work on our set pieces a lot,” Smith said. “We’ve worked on defending and attacking set pieces almost every day since the Montrose loss. We hadn’t been executing on them, so we trained them a lot. On that specific set piece we were able to execute.”
Coming out of the half with a 3-1 lead, the Demons settled in for the second half and really shut down any Summit chance, thanks to a stout back line of Aidan Partch, Mitchell Burt, Jackson Kruse and Liam Mazzotta.
Burt made arguably the play of the game defensively early in the second half when Summit captain Evan Wolfson slipped behind Glenwood’s back four and tried to track down a ball played over the top. Burt ran down Wolfson and cleared the ball out of harm’s way on a sliding tackle without drawing the foul.
“He’s a special player,” Smith said. “He’s been a varsity player all four years, and he’s really one of the only ones that can say that. Mitchell is unstoppable. He’s got good height, he’s got good speed, and he’s really determined and focused. There’s really not a lot that gets through him. He’s got that determination to shut teams down. He’s the center of the back line, and I really can’t say enough about our back four.”
Glenwood capped off the scoring in the match with Videla’s penalty kick at the 24:48 mark of the second half, capitalizing on a penalty drawn by Angel Bernal in the box.
The win pushes Glenwood to 6-3-1 (5-1-1 4A Western Slope League) on the year. The Demons, sitting second in the league standings, travel to Eagle Valley Tuesday, Oct. 2 for a league matchup with the Devils.
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