Mireles, Demons explode past Tigers on Senior Night
There’s something special about big games at Stubler Memorial Field and the Glenwood Springs Demons’ boys soccer team this fall. Each time a tough league opponent rides into town, the Glenwood group is more than up to the task, and on Tuesday night — a night reserved for Senior Night and the homecoming matchup — the Demons responded in a big game again, topping the visiting Summit Tigers 6-2 to move up to No. 3 in the 4A Western Slope League standings.
“There’s just a lot of creativity, ball movement and control with this group offensively right now,” Glenwood Head Coach Wayne Smith said. “The guys have just gotten better and better as an attacking unit as the season has progressed.”
Once again, it was junior Leo Mireles and seniors Clayton Horning and Alonso Pacheco who came through in a big way for the Glenwood attack as Mireles netted yet another hat trick, while Horning got the scoring started just three minutes into the game.
The terrific senior forward also assisted on Pacheco’s lone goal of the game off of a long throw-in from the sideline, finding Pacheco’s foot for a shot on goal.
Following a brief pregame ceremony to honor Horning, Pacheco, Kai Uyehara, Colton Taylor, Mikey Willis and Finlay Roberts, the Demons carried that emotion right into the start of the game as Horning struck first, just over three minutes into the game.
Pacheco sent Horning racing down the left wing with a terrific through ball, allowing Horning to reach full speed before arriving to the ball. From there, the senior forward caught Summit goalkeeper Kyle Wertz in between challenging his run and staying on his goal line. Seeing an opportunity, Horning lofted a shot on goal that sailed over the scrambling Wertz and into the far corner of the net, giving the Demons a much-needed 1-0 lead on their home field.
Thanks to Horning’s goal, the Demons had a little breathing room to work with, but the Tigers bounced back in a hurry, controlling possession for the middle portion of the first half, forcing sophomore goalkeeper Carlos Guardado to make a couple of saves to preserve the 1-0 lead.
But the Demons roared back offensively as Pacheco slipped home a shot in the box after Horning’s long throw-in from the left sideline bounced off of a couple of bodies in the box before Pacheco found it and fired the shot home, giving the Demons a 2-0 lead just 15 minutes into the game, putting the Tigers on their heels.
Really feeling it offensively, the Demons controlled possession and nearly made it 3-0 as junior Sebastian Torres corralled a bouncing ball and fired a shot at the net, just missing high over the crossbar for what would have been a spectacular strike.
With the Demons clicking offensively, Wertz did all he could in net to keep the Tigers within striking distance, coming up with a couple of key saves, which allowed Summit to find its footing offensively.
Moments after a big stop from Wertz, Summit senior Conor Craig blasted home a loose ball in the box past a diving Guardado, putting the Tigers on the board with just over 16 minutes left in the first half.
Four minutes later Mireles found the back of the net for Glenwood, stretching the Demon lead to 3-1. On the goal, Horning again came through with a long throw-in from the sideline, where Mireles skied in the box for a header, deflecting the shot past Wertz into the bottom left corner of the net.
Holding a 3-1 lead, Glenwood looked to go into the half unscathed, but late in the first half Guardado and a Summit player collided in the box on a loose ball, resulting in Guardado coming out of the game with an injury, forcing junior backup goalkeeper Devlin Powell into action.
Coming out of the half with a 3-1 lead, Glenwood needed to adjust defensively without its top goalkeeper, and they were a bit slow to do that, leading to a Summit goal off of a free kick from 30 yards out by Summit junior Evan Wolfson.
The free kick seemed to catch Powell off guard, who slid to his left before being out of position trying to come back to his right for the save.
“Devlin did a great job,” Smith said. “He’s practiced with us all year and has gotten some time this year. We have confidence in Devlin, and he showed poise in net coming off the bench for us tonight. The defense was real solid in front of him too. Mitchell [Burt] was solid, Axel [Garces] was solid and Jackson [Kruse] was fantastic tonight playing with an ankle issue.”
Trailing by just one goal at 3-2 early in the second half, Summit started to maintain a majority of the possession, but in classic Glenwood fashion the Demons cashed in when the opportunities to do so popped up.
Midway through the second half, a scramble for a loose ball in the Summit box transpired as defenders and attackers were all over the place, but the ball miraculously popped right to the left foot of Mireles from just outside the box.
The junior wasted no time, squaring up to the goal and blasting home a laser into the far right corner of the net, stretching Glenwood’s lead to 4-2.
A few minutes later the Demons nearly added a fifth goal as Horning beat Wertz to a ball in the box, forcing the Summit goalkeeper to take down the prolific Glenwood striker in the box, setting up a penalty kick.
Mireles struck again on the free kick, hitting the crossbar on the shot before bouncing in, giving the Demons an insurmountable 5-2 lead.
The penalty gave Mireles his second hat trick at home in the last three Glenwood home games.
“He’s [Mireles] really calm,” Smith said. “He’s got a lot of control and a lot of poise. He has great field vision and sees the game developing around him. He’s not selfish, he just creates a lot of stuff around him. He’s just a really complete soccer player. He’s just the guy for this team.”
But the highlight of the night for Glenwood came inside five minutes to play as Taylor scored his first career varsity goal as a Demon, thanks to a great cross into the box from Willis, leading to Taylor sliding in on the back side to redirect the ball into the net, capping off the thrilling 6-2 win for the Demons.
“We had a lot of positives to take from tonight,” Smith said. “Summit’s a good team; they’re well coached. But I think we answered for our loss up there earlier in the season.”