Singh's OT goal helps Montrose rally past Delta in playoffs
MONTROSE — At halftime Wednesday, it looked like Delta’s freshman forward Abraham Ontiveros had buried the Montrose soccer team’s playoff hopes.
Ontiveros looped in a precise, top-right-corner goal from the left side of the penalty box to put the No. 19 Panthers up 1-0 about 35 minutes into the contest. He then blasted a line-drive goal moments before halftime for a 2-0 lead.
But just when it looked like the newcomers to the Class 4A playoffs had gotten the best of Montrose, the No. 14 Indians came roaring back in the second half and through two overtime periods to beat Delta 3-2 at Montrose High School.
Panthers players, including Ontiveros, suffered from cramping in the second half. Montrose, conversely, possessed the ball well and kept the Panthers running. But unlike lazy possession where defenders string passes together, Montrose coach Jim Pavlich said his team was focused on keeping the Panthers chasing the ball during quality possessions in the attacking third of the field.
“I thought we outplayed them in terms of possession in the first half, regardless of the score,” Pavlich said.
Goals from Brayden Reese, Norman Marroquin, and the game-winner from Vijay Singh all came on high-pressure runs near the goal with Montrose pushing its midfield and defensive lines forward. Singh’s goal came late in the second overtime period on a deep-corner run from Jose Cervantes, who sent a cross to the back post. Singh rose up and headed the ball into the net, but even the Montrose coaching staff didn’t know who scored the game-winner, just that it went in.
After being at the bottom of a dogpile near the Montrose sideline, Singh said it will be business as usual for the Indians after the win.
“Well, I saw the cross coming in, and I knew it was my chance to end the game,” Singh said. “But you know, we had a solid game plan coming into this, and in the second half the entire team came out with fire, and we just did what we needed to do. You know, it’s great, and we’ll probably celebrate this win tonight. But tomorrow we’re back out for practice getting ready for the next round.”
Pavlich said he was impressed with the play of his midfield during the second half. The Indians outshot Delta 7-5, had seven corner kicks to Delta’s one, and Montrose had numerous direct free kicks in the second half.
“I thought we were really dangerous on our corners today,” Pavlich said. “One of the big points of our talk at half was not only taking shots, but getting the ball across the goal frame more. Our wingers did that really well, I thought. Brayden, Brian Bond did some pinch plays from the outside and got the ball across. That was really our talk. We made some small adjustments, and our boys executed.”
Montrose moves on to play No. 3 Cheyenne Mountain on Tuesday in Colorado Springs. Cheyenne Mountain topped No. 30 Pueblo South 3-0 to advance to the second round.
“We’ll be ready,” Pavlich said. “We’re going to practice tomorrow and just keep doing what we’ve been doing. We’re excited to play more soccer, and we’re getting more confident.”