Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Soccer: Niwot extends unbeaten streak to nine with wins over Greeley Central and Brighton

 

October 5, 2017

Jocelyn Rowley

Davin Bala prepares to throw the ball in against Greeley Central on Sept. 28.

After an eight-day gap between games, the Niwot boys soccer team finally returned to the pitch last Thursday, but the Cougars didn’t exactly pick up where they left off. After back-to-back six-goal games against Green Mountain and Northridge, the Cougars mustered just two goals in 78 minutes against an underachieving Greeley Central team, and needed a late penalty kick from Jonathan Jimenez-Flores to finally dispatch the troublesome Wildcats 3-2. For Niwot head coach Stephen Dimit, the effects of a week-long layoff were evident from the beginning.

“We hadn’t competed in eight days, and it looked like it today,” he said after his team’s tenth straight game without a loss. “We had a lot of miscues. We didn’t get in on goal enough, and the wet conditions made it pretty hard to possess the ball, which is what we live on.”

The match was scoreless until the 23rd minute, when Niwot senior Dylan Campbell booted home a pass from senior Davin Bala, extending his points streak to three games, and putting the Cougars up 1-0. Ten minutes later, Greeley Central responded after a rare defensive miscue by Niwot left an attacker with a clear shot past junior goalkeeper Mario Munoz.

The Wildcats broke the 1-1 tie just two minutes into the second half, on a breakaway by senior Elazier Pelico. Senior wing Jason Rodriguez got the equalizer for Niwot six minutes later with an assist from junior Mario Tapia.

Despite a sustained attack from the Cougars during the remainder of the half, the game remained tied at 1-1 until the 79th minute, when junior Jonathan Jimenez-Flores’ free kick sailed over Greeley Central’s keeper and put the Cougars up for good.

“We had guys step up individually today, but it’s not how we want to look every game,” Dimit said. “But we got the win.”

Niwot was back to form two days later against the Brighton Bulldogs, with goals from five different players in an 8-0 rout. Behind Tapia’s almost literal hat trick — two of his three goals were headers — the Cougars scored six goals in the first half, four of them in the last 10 minutes.

“We worked a lot on moving the ball around at practice, and that transitioned into the game,” said Tapia after his first three-goal day of the year. “We found each other in space, and we were able to score a lot.” Tapia also had an assist, for a total of seven points in the game. He and Rodriguez, who scored in the 39th minute, are now tied for the team lead with eight goals apiece.

As for his headers, Tapia admitted they don’t come along too often, but said, “I hope to have one every game.”

Niwot also got first half goals from Tyler Crall (on another header) and Magnus Hansen, who was playing on the front line due to the absences of Campbell and junior forward Jesus Gonzales.

In the second half, freshman Aidan Martin, subbing for the injured Campbell, scored his first goal of the season, and junior Alex Torcello posted his second. He also had an assist on the day.

“We scored some good team goals in different ways today,” said Dimit after his team’s first shutout since Sept. 12. “They did a good job connecting and finding each other, and the response from Thursday I’m really impressed with.”

Seniors Cam Lee and Andreas Montealegre had two assists apiece, while Nicholas Grant and Abel Marrufo each had one.

Niwot will be back in action next Thursday, Oct. 5, against Centaurus, then hosts Silver Creek on Oct. 10.

9/28 — Niwot 3, Greeley Central 2

Wildcats (3-6, 0-3) 1 1 — 2

Cougars (8-0-1, 2-0) 1 2 — 3

Goals — Dylan Campbell, Jonathan Jimenez-Flores, Jason Rodriguez

Assists — Davin Bala, Manual Tapia

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Mario Munoz (80-2-6)

9/30 — Niwot 8, Brighton 0

Jocelyn Rowley

Alex Torcello and Davin Bala run downfield against Greeley Central on Sept. 28

Cougars (9-0-1, 3-0) 6 2 — 8

Bulldogs (2-7, 2-3) 0 0 — 0

Goals — Manual Tapia (3), Tyler Crall, Magnus Hansen, Aidan Martin, Jason Rodriguez, Alex Torcello

Assists — Cam Lee (2), Andreas Montealegre (2), Nicholas Grant, Abel Marrufo, Manual Tapia, Alex Torcello

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Mario Munoz (80-0-2)

 

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