Fans watched a classic high school soccer match between two evenly matched teams Sept. 24 when Heritage got a goal in each half to edge Littleton 2-0 at Littleton High School Stadium.
Both teams played an uptempo style and it was a constant battle to win the ball and mount a successful attack that stretched from one end of the field to the other. Each team mounted attacks, put solid shots on goal and both goalies, Riccardo Cominelli for Heritage and Edgar Cervantes for Littleton, made difficult plays to keep the ball out of the net.
After the game, Heritage coach Adam Buseck said his young team played very well.
“We graduated 14 or 15 seniors from last year's team that were the Continental League champs, so we have a lot of young kids in starting roles this season,” the coach said. “We played good soccer and the win tonight against a crosstown rival was important as we move ahead this season.”
Littleton coach Pedja Vajzovic agreed it was a tough game.
“I thought we played them even in the midfield but we gave up two goals in close,” he said. “We had chances and I thought we had a stronger attack, but we didn't score the goals. We deserved the win but we gave away two goals.”
The Sept. 24 battle was a good one from the opening kickoff. About four minutes into the game, Heritage mounted a sustained attack, drove in close and Jacob Bruno put the ball into the net.
The score remained unchanged until just past the midway mark in the second half. Heritage had a free kick and Conrad d'Leeuwen lofted the ball into the mouth of the goal. Teammate Johannes Coopeneur out jumped the players around him and headed the ball past the diving goalie and into the net.
Eagles coach Buseck said his team played well against Littleton. He said he feels the defense is one of the strengths of the team.
“We have two strong seniors helping anchor our defense,” he said. “We are working on our offense and it is coming along.”
Eagle senior midfielder Josh Peil said Sept. 24 was a really big game for the Heritage team.
“Littleton is a very good team and it was a battle out there tonight,” he said after the game. “They came out, gave it everything they had and the game was well played by both teams. Fortunately, we put a couple balls into the back of the net, which gave us the win. We had sort of a rough start this year, but the win tonight is a plus as we head into the rest of the season.”
Vajzovic said his team played well, and it is always tough to swallow a loss to a rival and league opponent.
“We fought hard in spite of the fact we are a young team with only five seniors on the roster,” he said. “All the guys played well, but there were a couple mistakes by the net and they got the two goals. We put this behind us and keep battling as we head into the second half of the season.”
Littleton senior Will Paton said the game was all about the Lions sticking together even though they gave up two unlucky goals, something that sometimes gets a team down.
“We didn't let down after goals and kept after it. Heritage is a good team and it was a battle as both teams kept pushing the ball and looking for openings that weren't there,” the Lions captain said. “I play outside midfield and I like it there because you can see what is going on all over the field. I used to play defense but moved up into the midfield.”
He said soccer is his game but he also swims for the Lions.