EDWARDS — Just a note: If Battle Mountain girls soccer is not leading a team 4-0 after 20 minutes, all is not lost.
The Huskies didn’t score until the 32nd minute — gasp — on a snowy Thursday in Edwards against Summit County, and they somehow managed to eke out a 5-0 victory over the Tigers.
“It’s funny because sometimes people complain that the schedule is not hard enough, and then we get into a close game and people complain that it’s too close,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “These are just the league games where we’ve got to do our job.”
And Battle Mountain at both 6-0 overall and in the 4A Slope is doing its job quite efficiently, having outscored its opponents collectively, 43-1. No team from UEFA Champions League on down to the Huskies of the 4A Slope is that good. Challenges lie ahead for Battle Mountain — most notably Steamboat Springs coming to town on Saturday.
As the season progresses, Huskies fans will find out whether Battle Mountain is worthy of its No. 6 ranking in the current CHSAA poll, but good signs lurked even in what some may consider a not-so-crisp outing Thursday.
Mindful of the fact that there was another team in the Tigers actually playing and attempting to knock the Huskies off their perch, not to mention hideous weather conditions on Thursday, Battle Mountain’s Acacia Ortiz had a stellar afternoon with a goal and three assists.
“The great thing about soccer is that you get second chances all the time, so you can make up for it and just work hard,” Ortiz said. “That’s what we did today.”
Ortiz’s performance is a nice reminder of the diversity of Battle Mountain’s attack. Summit kept Battle Mountain’s top two goal-scorers (Logan Nash, 11 goals, and Morgan Croke, eight) out of the net, yet the Huskies still dropped a five spot. Emily Cope had the game-winner, while Melissa Lopez, Molly Phannenstiel and Dylan Barker (first varsity goal) all scored, in addition to Ortiz.
David Cope was quick to point out in the postgame that it’s that sort of offensive depth that helped the team win a championship last season. Ever the history teacher, Cope cited his side’s two 1-0 wins over Palisade last spring with goals from defender Jenai Denardo and Lopez, then an unheralded sophomore.
“We’ve got one of the most dynamic goal-scorers in the state in Logan Nash,” the coach said. “She’s going to score goals in big situations. But it’s great to see behind her, you’ve got players to provide goals when you need them.”
A snowy track also understandably slowed Battle Mountain down. Of course, most of this team is used to “spring-like” conditions in the Rockies, but playing in what, at times, was a whiteout on Thursday affected play.
“I don’t think you’re ever used to it,” Emily Cope said. “I think it’s, ‘Oh my God, it’s right in your face.’ It’s just something you have to deal with.”
The good news is that the snow should be gone by Saturday at 5 p.m. when the Sailors come to town. The Huskies topped Steamboat by a surprising count of 5-0 up north earlier this month. All in Battle Mountain’s camp expect a closer encounter in Round 2.
Battle Mountain can also sew up the Slope’s Eastern Division with a win, but given the familiarity with each other, there’s a lot more to any Huskies-Sailors tilt.
“I’ve known Natalie (Bohlmann) forever,” sophomore Cope said of the Steamboat Springs sophomore who also happens to be the daughter of a coach. “There’s a lot of excitement for a Steamboat game.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.