Demons knock off Sailors behind Mireles’ career night
A redirected shot from Glenwood junior Leo Mireles off of a long throw-in from senior Clayton Horning found the back of the net with just two minutes to go in overtime, giving the Glenwood Springs Demons’ boys soccer team a thrilling 4-3 win over the visiting Steamboat Springs Sailors Tuesday night at Stubler Memorial Field.
Mireles’ late tally was his third of the night, which capped off a terrific display of leadership and skill from the junior.
“Leo was just fantastic tonight,” Glenwood Head Coach Wayne Smith said. “He lifted the team at halftime and lifted the team with his play throughout the second half.”
Although Glenwood finished with a fury, the Demons got off to a rough start in the first half as the visiting Sailors raced out to a 2-0 lead midway through the first half.
Steamboat’s Daniel Lopez banged home an off-foot shot from the left wing at the 29:20 mark to give the Sailors the opening goal before sophomore Quinn Connell connected on an outstanding strike from just outside the box, flipping the ball into the air waist high before uncorking a shot into the upper right corner of the net at the 20:43 mark to make it 2-0 Steamboat.
“We needed a big game tonight because we needed to beat a quality opponent like Steamboat,” Smith said. “Last week against Battle Mountain was a rough way to lose the game, and I think the guys played their hearts out last week, but they came out tonight and got down early. But they settled into the game and fought back.”
Down 2-0, the Demons had a few chances to get on the board as senior Mikey Willis had a shot from in close stopped by the Steamboat goalkeeper, while Horning put together a couple of good runs down the right wing to try and create something for Glenwood, but nothing materialized.
That’s where Mireles came in.
In stoppage time right before the half, the junior worked his way into the Steamboat box and got off a strong shot to the far post, beating the diving Steamboat keeper to pull Glenwood to within one at the half, setting up a dramatic second half.
As the game continued to get physical in the second half, Glenwood stayed on the attack, putting a ton of pressure on the Sailors early in the second half before Horning seemed to tie the game at 2-2, but a late offside call negated the tying marker. Not done on the night, though, Glenwood upped the pressure offensively, forcing a corner midway through the second half.
On the corner, senior Finlay Roberts had two cracks at the ball in the box, whiffing on the first shot attempt before slotting home the second attempt, tying the score at 2-2, setting off a celebration at Stubler Memorial Field.
Glenwood senior Sebastian Torres had one of the best scoring chances he’ll see this season minutes later, but the senior was a bit too amped up for the shot, firing it over the crossbar from about 10 yards away, allowing Steamboat to reset defensively.
For the moment, Torres’ miss proved to be costly as two minutes later Steamboat took a 3-2 lead off of a header on a corner kick, silencing the Glenwood crowd.
But once again, Mireles played the hero in stoppage time, answering Steamboat’s header with one of his own off of a corner, deflecting the shot off of a Steamboat defender and into the back of the net, knotting the score at 3-3, forcing overtime.
In the extra session, it was all Glenwood before Horning’s throw-in found its way perfectly into the near side of the Steamboat box, where Mireles was able to deflect it home, setting off the ensuing celebration on the Glenwood sideline as the dejected Sailors trudged off the field.
“This feels really good to get this win,” Smith said. “It’s the biggest one we’ve had in quite a few games, and these kids deserve it.”
After coming up painstakingly short last Thursday against Battle Mountain at home, Tuesday’s game felt like a breakthrough for the young Demons, who are starting to realize the potential of this current group. By topping the visiting Sailors, Glenwood improves to 5-4 (4-2 4A Western Slope League on the season). The win over Steamboat pushes the Demons right into the top of the mix in a tough 4A WSL.
“I knew coming into the year we had a really good group,” Smith said. “When they want to, they can really bear down and get the job done. They just really responded tonight and got to the point where everybody can see how good they really are. We’ve played some really quality teams this year as well, so I think this is a team that should be competing for a league title; I really believe that.”
Glenwood will travel to Summit Thursday for a matchup with the Tigers at 4 p.m.
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