Manitou Springs • With eight goals scored and end-to-end play, there was no shortage of action in Thursday’s Tri Peaks League boys’ soccer game between Manitou Springs and The Colorado Springs School on the Mustangs’ home field.
Manitou Springs (9-2-1, 3-1) sophomore Jezreal Sommers was at the center of the action. He scored his third goal in the final seconds, giving Manitou Springs a 6-2 win over the Kodiaks (3-5, 1-3).
“It was great,” Sommers said of his first hat trick this season.
The Mustangs are chasing leaders Colorado Springs Christian (8-2, 4-0) and Salida (7-2, 4-1) in the league standings, while CSS is two spots back in fifth.
Sommers opened the scoring in the 14th minute when he finished off a counter after a Kodiak free kick.
“He’s a poacher,” Manitou Springs coach Ben Mack said. “He’s a striker. His job is to finish goals, and he does it well.”
CSS got the goal right back a minute later when Miles Gaylord dropped his free kick in a patch of grass in front of Mustang keeper Zach Talbot, allowing Lewis Decarolis to score with his first touch.
While it wasn’t the ideal result, there were some positives for the Kodiaks.
“I think we did a really good job of connecting with each other. This is probably our best passing game as a team,” CSS coach Andrew Julian said.
“That’s what we want to take away from this. They’re an incredible team. I think that was even more empowering for us.”
Mustang center back Asher Schoeplin put the hosts back in front for good minutes later when he drilled a rolling ball past Kodiak keeper Mauricio Alas.
Junior Jacob Cole tapped in the final goal of the first half to give Manitou Springs a 3-1 lead at the break.
Sommers scored his second in the opening minutes of the half before Seamus Lowe scored from the penalty spot to make it 5-1 in the 74th minute.
After struggling to finish scoring opportunities in the games leading up, Mack was pleased to see his team score six.
“If we want to be a playoff contender and go far or go anywhere in the playoffs, we’ve gotta finish chances,” the coach said.
“I was very happy that they were able to do that. I think we still left a lot out there.”
While the result was out of question, the Kodiaks pushed for a late goal. Senior Connor Jarolimek, one of CSS’ most dangerous players on the day, carried the ball down the right side and fired a shot that bounced off the post and back into play, eventually crossing the line after some help from a Mustang defender.
“We had a tough season last year, and that was one of the things we talked about this year was we wanted to see it all the way through,” Julian said. “We always want to make a valiant attempt to put together 80 strong minutes.”
In the end, however, it was Sommers and the Mustangs’ day.
“I’m always around the goal, looking for a shot,” the sophomore said.