Fluke goal, strong 2nd half lift Montrose to first-round win
MONTROSE — It was an unlikely goal, but it was all it took for the Montrose High School boys soccer team to secure its first-round playoff victory Thursday.
Dylan Tobin’s long shot into the wind found the net in the middle of the first half and started a run to beat Pueblo West 5-0. The 13th-seeded Indians (10-5-1) advance to play No. 4-seed Mullen, a 4-0 winner Thursday over Vista Peak, in Saturday’s round of 16.
In the first half, Montrose played with a steady wind in its face.
“The wind was the key factor in the first half,” Montrose coach Jim Pavlich said. “It’s the reason our captains chose to defend the side of the field we had in the first half. It was so we had the wind at our back in the second half.”
Tobin served a whirling lob on a free kick at about midfield. Halfway through the ball’s arc, the wind let up, and the ball sailed just enough to squeak between the keeper and the crossbar.
“I meant to shoot it,” Tobin said. “If it missed, our plan was to crash the goal and put in a rebound.”
With the wind at its back in the second half, Montrose created more chances offensively.
After a half-field run, the Indians’ Nick Hansen was awarded a penalty kick. The wind came into play yet again as Hansen banged his shot off the crossbar, but with the Cyclones’ goalkeeper lying on the ground, the Indians’ Vijay Singh placed a shot in the lower right corner of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Jose Cervantes, a freshman who started the season on junior varsity, iced the game with two goals in the waning minutes. Saul Perez capped the rout with a goal in stoppage time.
Montrose outshot Pueblo West 7-1 in the second half.
Montrose also benefitted from two ejections. In total, Pueblo West (11-5) received five yellow cards and two red cards.
“We work on (keeping our composure) from Day 1,” Pavlich said. “You don’t give referees a vote if you don’t engage the referees. We were focused on our game, and when you focus on the other team or what the referees are doing, things like what happened today, happen. That’s disappointing to see.”
Montrose travels to Denver to play Mullen (8-5-3) in a game that could have a major impact on Western Slope soccer.
“I love it when a Front Range team comes into our house and we beat them,” Tobin said. “A huge win like this sends a message to all the teams in Denver and puts us on their radar so they look out for us.”
Montrose has made five straight playoff trips, but it usually hasn’t received a high seeding during state playoffs. Fruita, the Southwestern League’s runner-up, was seeded 31 out of 32 teams in the 5A tourney.
“We have to show in the postseason to get that respect, and that’s what all the coaches out here are working on,” Pavlich said. “We have to make deep runs in the playoffs to get noticed.”