Colorado Springs School hangs on to top Ellicott in boys' soccer

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Photo - CSS senior Connor Jarolimek (25) controls the ball in the first half. The CSS Kodiaks hosted the Ellicot Thunderhawks in boys' soccer on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at The Colorado Springs School. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing
CSS senior Connor Jarolimek (25) controls the ball in the first half. The CSS Kodiaks hosted the Ellicot Thunderhawks in boys' soccer on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at The Colorado Springs School. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing

In soccer, a two-goal lead usually isn't enough to feel comfortable.

The Colorado Springs School boys' team suddenly found itself in a vulnerable position with just five minutes left in its 3A Tri-Peaks League home opener against Ellicott on Thursday afternoon.

But the Kodiaks didn't panic and stayed relaxed, eventually holding on for a 3-2 victory.

"I think the players did really well and didn't get frantic and didn't get out of their positions," CSS coach Andrew Julian said. "They kept to the game plan and they executed it well."

In the 75th minute, the Kodiaks were ahead 3-1.

But that's when the Thunderhawks attempted to put together a late-game comeback. Senior Cristian Carrasco sailed the ball over a wall of CSS defenders on a free kick to junior Issac Chacon, who nailed a score from about 20 yards to cut the lead to one goal.

In the end, time ran out for the Thunderhawks (0-3) after they couldn't produce another shot.

The Kodiaks (1-2), on the other hand, felt relieved to finally get a victory.

"I think today is a representation of what we're capable of," Julian said. "It's nice to see that come to fruition with a win."

It was the Kodiaks who started the game attacking.

In the fifth minute, CSS' Jacky Zhang scored on a free kick from about 35 yards to give the Kodiaks an early 1-0 lead. Lewis DeCarolis found Ethan Hedden streaking downfield eight minutes later, setting up a high kick that went just over the fingertips of the Ellicott goalkeeper.

It seemed as if the Kodiaks were in full control until they were called for a foul in the box. That set up a penalty kick for Ellicott, and junior Axcel Perez took advantage of the situation in the 38th minute to cut the CSS lead to 2-1 at halftime.

The Kodiaks earned their final score in the 67th minute, when Connor Jarolimek got the ball on a rebound shot before he calmly placed the ball in front of his feet and kicked it into the left corner.

Turns out, it was enough for them to survive the game, thanks in part to 10 saves by goalkeeper Mauricio Alas.

"We started off a little sloppy," Jarolimek said, referring to CSS's first two losses. "I think we definitely brought more heat this game."