LONGMONT — Perhaps soon there will be a feeling of normalcy for the Longmont soccer team. Grief has certainly taken over this week for the Trojans and the school's community.
It was tough to be inspired on Monday against Skyline in a 6-1 loss to the Falcons. And on Wednesday night at Everly-Montgomery Field, a team that is still in shock over the loss of an adored teacher, Jared Sommervold — showed unity and grit for the full 80 minutes against Standley Lake in its final non-league game of the fall.
An early Gators goal off a scramble in the goal box, however, ended up as the only tally in a 1-0 Class 4A tussle, sending LHS to 3-4-1 as it heads to Northern League play.
Senior captain Alex Santucci said that several of the soccer players had Sommervold — who was killed in a car accident this past Friday night on Interstate 25 — as their physics teacher.
"I feel like we're still mourning the loss of our teacher and it wasn't as evident as it was against Skyline but you could definitely still see it in the boys today," Santucci said, noting several games and practices for the school on Thursday were postponed or cancelled so that players and their families can attend a memorial service for he and his wife, Genevieve. "We'll get a chance to cry together (Thursday), and then we're going to go out and show what being Northern League champions is all about."
A moment of silence was observed for the Sommervold family prior to the game, and the following 80 minutes of soccer was hard fought. Longmont's possession style was a direct opposite of Standley Lake's lob-ball and counter attack play, and both teams had their share of chances with possession pretty even throughout.
In the 12th minute, as Longmont goalkeeper Jose Torrez got caught up in a slew of bodies in the goal box after a send-in, Standley Lake's Erik Macias was able to settle a ball with everyone clear of the net and poke it home to provide the game's only score.
Longmont had good pressure in the final 3 minutes of the first half, even getting a prime-center free kick from 30 yards out off the foot of Orlando Alaniz that challenged SLHS keeper Kevin Ruzicka, but the Gators went to the break with a lead.
Ruben Ordaz led a much more vigilant offensive attack in the second half for Longmont, but it was to no avail as Ruzicka stopped all five shots on goal he faced.
Head coach David Johns, in his first year, praised the Trojans for playing tough even with non-soccer emotions weighing on their minds, and the team will turn to Friday's league opener against Mountain View encouraged.
"We bounced back in a big way even though I know the guys' heads and hearts are with Mr. Sommervold. They had a good practice and the came out and played spirited soccer," Johns said. "(League) starts Friday and we have a title that we'd love to defend. The way they played tonight, they showed they're starting to learn my system well."
"Some people might think we lost a step from last year, but this game put us in the right direction even though we lost," Santucci said. "Everone should expect a higher intensity from Longmont the rest of the season."
Standley Lake 1, Longmont 0
At Every Montgomery FieldStandley Lake (5-2) 1 0 — 1
Goals (assists) — Standley Lake: Erik Macias (unassisted), 12th minute.
Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Standley Lake: Kevin Ruzicka (80-0-5); Longmont: Jose Torrez (80-1-3).