Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Niwot improves to 3-0 after tough non-conference wins

 

September 6, 2017

Photo by Ed Navarro Niwot defender Magnus Hansen heads the ball as teammate Jonathan Jimenez-Flores looks on against Holy Family.

The Niwot boys soccer team passed an early season test with back-to-back wins over top-ranked teams Holy Family (0-1) and Standley Lake (0-2-1).  With the wins, the Cougars moved to 3-0 on the season to enjoy sole possession of first place in the Northern League.

In the match against Holy Family on Aug. 31, the Cougars’ front was once again aggressive on the attack out of the gate. Holy Family’s defense, led by Abel Campos, managed to fend them off until the 17th minute when Niwot senior Jason Rodriguez snuck a quick shot past Tigers’ keeper Ryan Berry.  On the other side of the field, the Cougar defense rebuffed the Tigers pretty easily, and the Cougars took their 1-0 lead into half-time.

Holy Family came out strong after the break, and, taking advantage of a rare defensive breakdown by the Cougars, evened up the score at 1-1 less than five minutes into the half.  The tie was short-lived, however, when Rodriguez made it 2-1 for Niwot less than four minutes later.

An increasingly anxious Holy Family generated pressure in the closing minutes, but the Cougars’ defense held fast, and Niwot held on to win 2-1.

Head coach Stephen Dimit was once again happy with his squad’s first half performance, but still sees room for improvement by the Cougars in the second 40 minutes.

“I thought the first half was excellent, and the way we finished the game was so smart,” the coach said.  “But there were about 20 to 25 minutes where we needed to settle down and control the ball a little better.”

Two days later, the seventh-ranked Standley Lake Gators came to town, still smarting from a shocking double-overtime loss to cross-town rival Arvada West on Aug. 31.  

The Cougars once again controlled the play in the first half, with good ball possession and movement through the middle. In the 28th minute, Niwot senior Jonathan Jimenez-Flores put the Cougars up 1-0 with his first goal of the year, a booming 35-yard shot off of a deflected corner-kick.

On the other half of the field, seniors Abel Marrufo, Nicholas Grant, and Cam Lee (who was playing through an injury), were “amazing back there, like a brick wall”, allowing the ball to reach Munoz just three times.  Dimit was especially pleased with the play of exchange student Alejandro Torcello, who hails from Spain and plays defensive back for the Cougars. “It’s good to see him coming along.”

Both offenses seemed tired as the second half wore on under deceptively hot, humid conditions, and at least two players were helped off the field.  Despite a sustained attack by the Gators around the sixty minute mark, Niwot held on to its one goal lead to remain unbeaten in 2017.

Overall, Dimit was pleased with the team’s performance, but once again was happier with the opening forty minutes.

“I thought we outplayed them completely in the first half,” he said of the Cougars’ shut-out win, their first of the season. “In the second half, we were gritty when we needed to be.”

As for the Cougars’ early season success, Dimit admitted that he thought there was “a chance” they would be undefeated after the first three games, but, “I knew that we’d have to work for every single one of them.”

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Cougars anytime soon. They hit the road for the first time on Tuesday, Sept. 5 with a match against Skyline, which played Standley Lake to a 3-3 tie on Aug 24.  They then play host to Lewis-Palmer at home on Sep. 7.

08/31 — Niwot 2, Holy Family 1

Tigers (0-1) 0 1 — 1

Cougars (2-0) 1 1 — 2

Goals — Jason Rodriguez (2)

Assists — Cam Lee, Alejandro Torcello

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Mario Munoz (80-1-6)

09/02 — Niwot 1, Standley Lake 0

Tigers (0-1) 0 1 — 1

Cougars (2-0) 1 1 — 2

Goals — Jonathan Jimenez-Flores

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Mario Munoz (80-0-3)

1                                                      

Tigers (0-1)      0 1 — 1

Cougars (2-0) 1 1 — 2

Goals — Jason Rodriguez (2)

Assists — Cam Lee, Alejandro Torcello

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Mario Munoz (80-1-6)

Photo by Ed Navarro Niwot’s Max Towlen (5) heads the ball against Holy Family.

09/02 — Niwot 1, Standley Lake 0

Tigers (0-1)      0 1 — 1

Cougars (2-0) 1 1 — 2

Goals — Jonathan Jimenez-Flores

Goalies (Min-Goals al

 

Reader Comments
(0)

 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2019