BROOMFIELD — The Holy Family Tigers are going to make the 3A soccer playoffs. They know that.
They just want to earn it themselves and not be told by a committee sitting in a room, deciding the fate of teams they may or may not have seen throughout the season.
The latter may become a reality if coach Kathy Hogan and her team can’t right the ship. Holy Family lost another heartbreaker — its second consecutive — on Tuesday night at Mike G. Gabriel Stadium, falling 2-0 to 3A No. 5 Kent Denver in a key Metropolitan League (Region 6) match.
“We’re going to have to leave up to winning the rest of the games and trying to beat one of those ten at-large bids,” said Hogan, whose team will have to finish in the top four of the league to avoid having their fate in the hands of someone else. “Leaving it up to other teams is not something I want to do.”
The Sun Devils took advantage of a revamped Holy Family defense that is dealing with some injuries and has been forced to play people out of position. Daniel Reilly scored the first goal of the game in the eighth minute, breaking down his defender in the box and then finishing with his left foot to goalie Robbie Wyton’s far post.
Wyton, a sophomore, kept his team in the game in the first half. Prior to Reilly’s goal, he was in perfect position to deny Kent’s Max Mehlman on the doorstep. Wyton had to be constantly on his mark, even with the ball on the other end of the field, because Kent goalie Mark Siegel and his huge punts created instant transition opportunities for the Sun Devils.
“If we are not winning those long balls out of the air, that’s always tough,” said Wyton, who made four really good saves in the game. “We really have to work on keeping our heads up and staying in the game.”
The Tigers’ offense has been shut out in three of its last four games and the Tigers have become a team that is more focused on the playoffs — still four games away — and not on the regular-season task at hand. But Hogan knows it may just take one goal to turn the tide.
“We haven’t scored in like the last three games and it’s just killing us and our confidence,” said Hogan, whose team will make a formation change to a 4-4-2 for Thursday’s game against Frederick. “Once we get one, the floodgates will open.
“But it’s getting that one and having somebody step up and finish is what we need.”
The Tigers certainly had their chances, albeit limited, against Kent. Patrick Borer’s chance late in the first half that would have equalized was pushed over the bar by Siegel. Moments later, Eddie Park hit a laser that Siegel laid out for and deflected away.
Those moments unfortunately were few and far between for the Tigers offense on Tuesday night. Wyton did all he could, including one more big save late in the first half to keep his team within a goal.
A defensive breakdown — most notably two whiffs on clearing attempts — led to Kent Denver’s second-half goal. Freshman Brooks Crawford gave the Sun Devils the extra cushion in the 62nd minute.
Wyton and his team are at a low point right now, but he knows his team can and will break out of their recent funk.
“We are a better team than that and I know these guys and I know they want to win, but we just can’t get a bad attitude and drop our heads like we have been,” said Wyton, who agreed with his coach that just one goal at this point would be huge for team morale. “Easily — we score a goal, we always get pumped up and we go and score two or three more. That’s all we need to do is get hyped up, start communicating better and we need to get our attitude a heckuva lot better.”
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Kent Denver 2, Holy Family 0
At Holy Family H.S.
Kent Denver (10-2, 5-0) 1 1 — 2
Holy Family (8-3, 4-3) 0 0 — 0
Goals (assists) — Kent Denver : Daniel Reilly (unassisted), 8th minute; Brooks Crawford (unassisted), 62nd.
Goalkeepers (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Kent Denver: Mark Siegel (80-0-5); Holy Family: Robbie Wyton (80-2-4).