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Niwot fends off Erie for second straight shutout


October 2, 2019

Jocelyn Rowley

Junior Keegan Stobbe keeps the ball in-bounds during Niwot's 2-0 win over Erie on Sept. 26.

Niwot forward Keegan Stobbe has been a dynamo for the Cougars' offense in 2019, but it wasn't until the 56th minute of their non-conference match against Erie on Sept. 26 that the speedy junior finally got the shot that he's been waiting nearly half the season for.

"I was just chilling on the 18, basically, and I gave Mason [Wright] a little look," Stobbe said of the sequence that resulted in his first goal of 2019. "He saw me and placed the ball in. It was a weird ball, but I got my head on the end of it and it ended up going in... I've been struggling this whole season, so to put one in the net is just fantastic."

Stobbe's remarkable header put Niwot up 1-0 over the Tigers, a lead that would grow to 2-0 just over 20 minutes later when sophomore midfielder Jake Elston took a pass from forward Ismael Dominguez, and slipped the ball between two Erie defenders and past keeper Trey Hollis. It was also Elston's first goal of the season, and head coach Stephen Dimit was happy to have two new names to add to Niwot's scoring list.

"Stobbe's leading us in assists right now, but it's really nice to get him on the score sheet because we're always a better team when he scores," Dimit said after the shutout win, Niwot's second of the week. Stobbe has four assists and 18 shots on goal in 2019, the team's second highest behind junior Aidan Martin (23)."And Jake Elston has been one of our hardest workers all year long and it's nice to see him get that payoff on the stat sheet."

While the boost in offensive production is definitely a welcome development, Dimit was also quick to credit his defense for their role in Niwot's return to winning. On Sept. 24, the team posted a 1-0 road victory over Littleton, after defenders Carter Kruse and Andy Worrell combined for an unusual Cougars' scoring opportunity.

"They got the shutout, and they got the goal, which was really cool because that almost never happens for us, the way that we play," Dimit said. "But they gave us a gritty goal, in a really gritty game."

The Cougars' have also seen exceptional play from their freshman keeper, Javier Amaya, who assumed starting duties in mid-September, after platooning with senior Pancho Rodriguez early on. In four complete games in 2019, the ninth-grader recorded three shut-outs and turned in an "amazing" performance against Littleton, according to Dimit.

"Shutouts are one of our goals this year, so we're really proud that we haven't given up a goal in two games. We've really worked on limiting our shots, and Javi's been outstanding in taking care of all the stuff we really need to clean up."

Jocelyn Rowley

Midfielder Jake Elston (4) pushed a shot past two Erie defenders into the goal in the Cougars' 2-0 win on Sept. 26.

The two wins put Niwot back at .500 for the year, with some momentum heading into a tough slate of Northern League opponents. In the new month, the coach said he is looking for the Cougars to take advantage of their scoring chances and make a strong run to the postseason.

"We've played a really hard schedule so far this year, and the guys have been working on getting things right. I feel like the second half was a good step towards that.... Two wins in a row is a good momentum shift, but that's obviously up to the guys. Soccer's a big mental game, so we're going to enjoy this one, and then we'll focus on starting our league play off right."

9/26--Niwot 2, Erie 0

Tigers (5-3) 0 0 - 0

Cougars (4-4) 0 2 - 2

Goals - Stobbe, Elston

Assists - Wright, Dominguez

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) - J. Amaya (80-0-5)


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