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South Salt Lake Journal

Cottonwood boys soccer snaps a 3-year losing skid

Apr 15, 2021 10:42AM ● By Brian Shaw

The Cottonwood High boys soccer team takes on Skyline in a region game. After losing to the Eagles, the Colts defeated East 3-1 for its first win in three years. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

The Cottonwood soccer players were playing well defensively on March 9 in the season opener, utilizing a suffocating defense to open up the offense, according to head coach Dominic Militello. 

“We had a good shape in that game,” added Militello, whose Colts have been raring to get back at it for months. 

As that game against Jordan neared its end, the ball swung from side to side as the right back played the ball up to the right midfielder, who played a square ball across his body into the path of the Colts center midfielder who let the ball fall to his right foot, took a touch that hopped and scissored a shot about 30 yards from Jordan’s goal. 

“We had everyone asking if [Cottonwood] finally has a team,” said Militello, whose Colts were on the verge of snapping a three-year, 17-game losing streak, down by just one goal at home to mighty Jordan. 

This shot from Cottonwood’s center midfielder just floated up, up into the atmosphere, a shot the Jordan goalkeeper seemed to misjudge. As the ball came down from the sky, the field at Cottonwood fell silent in anticipation. 

Sometimes, the difference between all and none can be inches, even centimeters in sports. Sometimes, it takes skill and sometimes, just a little luck. 

The ball tumbled down and hit the top right corner post, smashing with a loud ping as it careened out of bounds, away from the net, eliciting “oohs” from the crowd. The Colts reserve, whose lone job was to shag loose balls from behind the goal, was so shaken by the shot he jumped and grabbed his head in frustration—then scurried to retrieve it so the Jordan goalie could put the ball back into play. 

That would be the last chance for Cottonwood (0-3) who since that 1-0 loss has struggled to find that form it found in the Jordan game, according to Militello. 

“We played so well versus Jordan,” the coach said. “We have the talent, we know how to play... but something keeps creeping into our mentality. 

“I have never seen anything like it and I don't know where it is coming from...we are starting to think we are cursed,” he added, laughing nervously. 

The Colts started out bright at Brighton, a legitimate 5A state championship contender in the region opener March 16 and were within range of Skyline March 19 as it reached the halftime break. 

But tough second halves in both games spelled the end of those threats for Cottonwood, who vowed it would go back to the drawing board as region play continues and snap this losing skid dating back to May 10, 2018.  

“We watched game film, we identified issues, made the corrections and then 15 minutes into the Skyline game they just shut down. Ultimately, laid another egg,” Militello said. “One thing I do know is that we will keep at it until we break chains of whatever is keeping us from getting results we desire.” 

Militello’s words proved partly prophetic as the Colts did break the chains in its following game against East, defeating the Leopards 3-1 for its first victory in almost three years.