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South Salt Lake Journal

Cottonwood Soccer gets first win in three years

May 01, 2021 11:23AM ● By Brian Shaw

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

Two weeks to the day that the ball soared into the sky from a perfectly executed scissor kick past the opposing goalkeeper and was only denied sweet victory by the crude crossbar of fate, the Cottonwood boys soccer team finally won a game—their first in three years. 

“Such an amazing feeling,” said Cottonwood head coach Dominic Militello, whose Colts scored first before the half and then twice more March 23 before East, a traditional soccer power in Class 5A, awakened somewhat and tried to make a game of it. But the Colts would prevail, winning 3-1. 

But after that highest of highs, it has been the lowest of lows for Cottonwood, according to Militello, who attributes the Colts slide to two things: youth and injuries. 

“It's been challenging. We are so young and inexperienced. We usually start four to five sophomores who don't have much competitive experience,” said Militello. “We are smaller physically and struggle to compete in such a tough region.” 

This inexperience has shown up in games versus Brighton (twice) and Skyline, both of whom blanked the Colts by scores of 4-0 and 5-0. By that point, Cottonwood started being bitten by the injury bug, the other big issue the team has been facing, according to the coach. 

“Two of our main starters in the back line have been out, one due to a spleen issue and one with a severe ankle injury,” added Militello. 

On the other hand, the Colts (1-10 overall, 1-8 region play) are still fighting. A tough Murray team came to Cottonwood March 26 and escaped with a 3-0 win thanks to a big first half. Then Cyprus visited Cottonwood Heights on March 30 in a non-region game and needed two set piece goals to survive and win 4-2. 

More injuries hammered the Colts in their next game April 6 at Olympus, a 5-1 loss. But Cottonwood showed its mettle April 9 at Highland losing 3-0, and when Olympus visited the Colts on April 13, the Titans survived a Cottonwood onslaught of shots to eke out a 2-1 victory. 

“We are getting scored by counters, crosses, goalie mishandling...However, I am really proud of our guys, they keep showing up and keep battling week in week out,” said Militello. “We seem to be improving in small increments.” 

In the grand scheme of things, most teams would lay down and give up, added Militello. But not this team. Not only is this team scoring more than any Colts boys soccer team has in several years, it’s refocused its objectives for 2021 on the upcoming 5A state soccer tournament. 

“In order to keep the kids motivated and interested, we have had to reset our goals for the year. Since all teams make the playoffs we have set our sights on trying to win a playoff game,” said Militello. “We are using the regular season to figure out what we need to figure out in order to give ourselves the best chance to win a playoff game.”