Devils beat Summit, wrap up playoff bid
GYPSUM — Eagle Valley soccer is going to the playoffs.
Let that sink in a bit.
By slipping by Summit County, 1-0, on what turned out to be a happy Senior Night on Thursday at John Ramunno Field, the Devils finished the season 9-6 overall and 7-5 within the 4A Slope.
This is after a 5-8-2 spring last season.
Last year, the Devils didn’t score a goal in two games against Steamboat Springs. This year, they swept the Sailors by an aggregate score of 9-0.
In 2016, Eagle Valley managed one late token goal against Battle Mountain. One year later, Eagle Valley split with its archrivals.
Twelve months ago, the Devils had a scoreless tie against Summit. On Thursday night, they found a way to punch through.
“We set a goal at the beginning of the year to achieve this, and it’s really special for us,” senior Camilla Petterson said.
“It definitely makes all the hard work and all the ups and downs worth it,” Devils coach Maggie Sherman said. “For me, it’s special because I know what it means to be in the playoffs. It’ll be weird to not wear orange. But it’s good to wear any color in the playoffs.”
Coach, stick to Eagle Valley black, white and red.
Grinding it out
It wasn’t pretty, but we’re getting to the point of the season where nothing comes easily. Eagle Valley dominated possession and the shots. The only problem was that nearly 70 minutes in, the Devils had nothing to show for it.
Sofia Aguilar had a fast break which tuned into a general jail break. She had two shots that got the Summit keeper out of position, and Uma Nanin jumped on it.
“I really, really wanted it,” Nanin said. “I knew my whole team had worked hard for it. We stuck with it and came through.”
The lesson herein is that postseason goal are rarely those of beauty. It is the so-called ugly goal that wins when the brackets are out.
“It doesn’t matter how you get the ball in the goal,” senior Rose Sandell said. “It just matters that you get the ball into the goal.”
“I think it’s good for the girls to see the effort they need to put out, because with the higher teams, that’s what it takes,” Sherman said. “For them to get that experience right before we go, that’s really important.”
Senior Night and more to come
Eagle Valley honored its six graduates — Hana Berge, Adriana Moya, Melissa Velasco, Petterson, Sandell and Lexus Diaz.
“I think it’s awesome,” Sandell said. “My sophomore year, we had Mariel (Gutierrez), who was one of the top goal scorers in the state. To come off that, my junior year, and not have the best year, and then my senior year for these awesome freshmen to come in and to have the team come together, it’s amazing. I could not be more proud of the team.”
Eagle Valley entered Thursday’s game ranked No. 23 in the rating-percentage index. With the top-32 teams going, the Devils are safely in, regardless of final RPI gyrations.
The bracket comes out on Sunday on chsaanow.com, and the Devils start the postseason, likely on the road, on Wednesday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.