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By Jocelyn Rowley
Sports@lhvc.com 

Soccer: Niwot scores early and often in first round playoff win over Erie

 

November 3, 2017

Ed Navarro

Niwot’s Andres Montealegre controls the ball against Erie.

Any lingering doubts about the potency of Niwot’s offense were put to rest in a 7-0 rout of the No. 30 seed Erie Tigers in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs last Wednesday. Even with their leading-scorer Manny Tapia minding the net for an injured Mario Munoz, the Cougars dominated possession in all but a handful of the match’s eighty minutes and had no trouble generating scoring opportunities.

“I don’t know if I expected seven goals, but I expected our guys to come out and play really hard in front of Manny and play really hard for Mario,” head coach Steve Dimit said following the Cougars’ first post-season win since 2015. “The guys stepped up. They knew we’d be missing our normal goal scorer so they stepped up to fill that gap.”

Munoz sustained an injury earlier in the week, and his status is “day-to-day”, according to the coach.

Niwot got goals from six different players, the first from senior wing Andreas Montealegre, who tucked in a shot off a well-placed cross from senior Jason Rodrigiez in the sixth minute. Four minutes later, Jonathan Jimenez-Flores made it 2-0 after his shot off a corner kick made it past Erie keeper Jon Powell. Seniors Tyler Crall and Cameron Carlson added the third and fourth Niwot goals of the half, and junior Magnus Hansen made it 6-0 going into the break with his second and third goals of the year.

“We did pretty good without Manny, but we did miss him,” Jimenez-Flores said after blowout win. The junior also had three assists on the day. “Everyone did pretty great passing and possessing, and we had a lot of chances on the ball.”

Niwot pumped the breaks on its offense during the second half, scoring its seventh goal (Campbell from Montealegre) with less than a minute to go in the game. With the commanding lead, Dimit was able to give his freshman and sophomore players significant time in a postseason game.

“The nice thing about today is we were able to play every guy on our roster,” he said. “Everybody’s been working so hard, particularly the young guys. They deserved to get a few minutes in this game and see playoff soccer.”

Though the scoring was impressive, the defense was equally so in front of backup keeper Tapia, who was well protected during the game by senior defensemen Crall, Nicholas Grant, and Abel Marrufo. Tapia faced just three shots on goal during the game, all in the second half.

Marrufo said that having Tapia in goal instead of Munoz wasn’t that much of a disadvantage. “Manny’s a good player. We trust him in goal, and he did a good job.”

The Cougars face No. 14 seed Battle Mountain (13-3) in the second round on Oct. 31. Last year, Battle Mountain was the Class 4A runner-up, losing 7-0 to Discovery Canyon in the final.

“We’ll go day by day and work to get better,” Dimit said. “We’ve got this nice gap between round 1 and round 2 and that’s a lot of time to learn and improve and grow. We’re excited for that.”

“We all feel pretty confident,” Jimenez-Flores said. “We just have to go out there and do our best for our seniors.”

10/25 —Niwot 7, Erie 0

Ed Navarro

Niwot senior Seidon Nemeth in front of the Erie goal.

Cougars (13-1-2, 5-1) 6 1 — 7

Tigers (7-9, 5-2 0 0 — 0

Goals —Hansen (2), Campbell, Carlson, Crall, Jimenez-Flores, Montealegre

Assists — Jimenez-Flores (3), Rodriguez (2), Crall, Montealegre

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Manual Tapia (80-0-3)

 

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