EDWARDS - If Coal Ridge's No. 17 looked familiar Thursday night when the Titans called on Battle Mountain soccer, it's because she is.
The Titans' Kelsey Fauser plays indoor soccer for Glenwood Springs during the winter and her team plays Battle Mountain during voluntary workouts.
"Becca Mitchell and I play in the indoor league together," Fauser said. "We knew the Battle Mountain girls. They're fast. They're intimidating. We definitely know them."
Fauser left a lasting impression on the Huskies with a goal in the final minutes for a 2-1 Titans victory Thursday in Edwards.
"It was heart-stopping," Fauser said. "I saw Amanda (Wenzel) make a loop run in. She kicked it. I was like, 'Oh, I can get that.' I saw the goalie come out. I had to put it underneath her, so she couldn't get it. I just did it. Longest time ever to get a goal."
The ball bounced and bounced and found its way into the corner giving 3A Coal Ridge an impressive win for the purposes of playoff seeding over the 4A Huskies. The Titans are 12-1 and have won 10 straight.
"We try to come into every game the same," Coal Ridge coach Micah Heron said. "We knew that we had our work cut out for us. They're a great team. They're well-coached and they're disciplined and they really made us step, which is what we were really looking for. I give all credit to the girls."
While this was a nonconference loss for the Huskies, and only the second of the year, it could be a critical one for their playoff chances. Battle Mountain can still grab a berth by winning next week's 4A Slope tournament. But at 7-2-3 overall, points (24) are getting scarce for either one of the Western Slope region's four automatic berths or one of eight at-large bids from throughout the state.
(A reminder: Slope League teams get thrown in with Durango, Montrose and Montezuma-Cortez from the 5A Southwest League, and Durango and Montrose are looking like they're all but qualified. That leaves only two spots for four teams from the Slope League.)
"I think the one thing I would like our team to hear is that big players score big goals in big games," Huskies coach David Cope said. "When you see (Fauser) finishing a chance, it's not a coincidence that's her 16th goal of the year. ... Our players who perceive themselves to be good players have to step up and realize that you have to step up in big games. I thought we created enough chances to win the game, but we didn't finish."
That made it a bummer of a Senior Night for Battle Mountain's Kayla Bruntz, Kelly Guarascio, Rosie Davies, Alexis Nibbelink, Ali O'Brien, Anna Tedstrom and Holly Williams.
Both teams are back in action Saturday. Coal Ridge hosts Vail Christian at 11 a.m., while the Huskies head to Silver Creek at noon.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.