ARVADA — Pomona was able to cool off the hot start of Wheat Ridge’s boys soccer team on Monday night.
The Panthers (2-3-1 record) never trailed in taking a 3-2 victory at the North Area Athletic Complex. It was the first loss of the season for the Farmers (4-1-1).
“We’ve been having struggles this year. When our guys are healthy and are there we can compete,” Pomona coach Tim Murray said. “When they settle down and play soccer they are a pretty strong unit. I’m thankful for that.”
Murray was thankful for how Pomona responded to losing 1-goal leads twice in the second half. Pomona scored the lone goal in the first half off a corner kick. Pomona freshman Joevannie Rosales sent the corner kick toward the far post. Junior Alex Aguilar was able to get a foot on it and bang it past Wheat Ridge goalie Collin Warren for a 1-0 lead.
“We’ve got down a goal or two and come back hard all season,” Murray said. “It was really nice to get up tonight.”
Wheat Ridge answered early in the second half with a goal from senior Ian Spetnagel on a brilliant shot that hit underneath the crossbar and into the net to tie the game 1-1 in the 45th minute.
“We struggled in that first half,” Wheat Ridge coach David Osse said of the Farmers’ scoreless first half. “We just kind of went through the motions and didn’t get into the game until later. By the time we got our wheels going and things started happening we were a little bit behind.”
Pomona sophomore Johnny Gould’s goal in the 53rd minute put the Panthers back up by a goal. However, Wheat Ridge responded again to knot it up at 2-2 with a goal from sophomore Vinny Pomponio in the 57th minute.
The Farmers had won by the narrowest of margins in their first four victories. Wheat Ridge managed 1-goal wins over Elizabeth, Frederick, Chatfield and Conifer. Wheat Ridge’s one blemish coming in was a scoreless tie against Lincoln.
It was the Panthers’ turn to get the last laugh. Freshman Marvin Rosales scored the final of four goals in a 16-minute span in the second half to put Pomona up 3-2.
“All the freshmen coming in are great freshmen. They are working hard,” Gould said of the young squad that has just a single senior. “Marvin got the game-winning goal. He was working hard and following up on the ball. All our freshmen have that.”
Pomona held on for the 1-goal victory with sophomore goalie Noah Drewes coming up big in the final minutes.
“Noah is really strong. The goals that have been against him haven’t been his fault,” Murray said. “He is going to be the reason we compete this year. He has really brought his game up a level.”
Pomona has another good test against a quality Class 4A Jeffco team in Standley Lake this week. The Panthers and Gators square off at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at NAAC. Pomona begins its 5A Jeffco conference schedule against defending league champion Ralston Valley on Sept. 22.
“It helps the team because we’ve been losing a lot,” Gould said. “It’s nice to get some confidence heading into Standley Lake. Heading into league I think we’ll be able to score some more goals and get more wins.”
Wheat Ridge heads to Mullen High School to face the Mustangs in a non-league game at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday this week before heading into 4A Jeffco League play next week.
“Hopefully this is a feeling we don’t want for the next couple of games,” Osse said. “We’ve got enough seniors who have been through the struggles before. Hopefully they know how to bounce back.”