EDWARDS — There are really two parts of Battle Mountain boys lacrosse.
So far in 2014 home games, fans have gotten to know the likes of Crane McGuckin, Wyatt Dilling and Mike Lange, and others who have scored early and often in wins over Eagle Valley and Summit County. That’s important, but equally key is stopping the opposition from doing the same, and the Huskies defense got a chance to shine during a 9-4 win against Windsor on Wednesday in Edwards.
“They communicated. They were physical when they needed to be,” Huskies head coach Jerry Nichols said. “Their sticks were good when they needed to be. They played smart.”
Senior goalie Zach Trombetta leads the unit. He had to be on his game early as Battle Mountain led only 1-0 after the first 12 minutes.
“The defense gave me shots I could see,” said Trombetta, who like his teammates, was bouncing back from a 15-8 loss at Steamboat Springs on Saturday. “The No. 1 thing is communication with our defensemen, talking through it. When I’m screened, I let them know. Hopefully, they can get out the way. Big Jon Rulon screens me a lot. Communication is key. We really stepped it up this game. Steamboat wasn’t that great. Today was money.”
And while Trombetta was joking about Rulon, he’s happy to have a big guy who was a forward on the basketball team on his side. Rulon, Quin Davis and Ben Maslan are some of the unsung heroes when it comes to defending the net. That also applies to long-stick middles Rio Garton and Eli Stephens.
Of course, while Nichols and the coaching staff consider defense a team-wide concept, he said of the aforementioned, “That’s just a great defensive package. They stepped it up today.”
Windsor did not score an even strength goal on the Huskies. That speaks well of the defense. It also says that Battle Mountain (5-1) needs to be disciplined as the visiting Wizards had four scores with the advantage.
“Every goal they scored today, we were a man down,” Nichols said. “It tells you the importance of staying out of the penalty box.”
In fairness, it was a very chippy game with neither side holding back. But that is the whole point of scheduling nonconference games against teams like Windsor. Not only do the Huskies see physical, playoff-style lacrosse, but winning those games enhance the Huskies’ stature when it comes to seeding for the 4A tournament.
Windsor made the playoffs last season and lost to ... wait for it, Steamboat Springs, 13-5. It’s no coincidence that Battle Mountain’s next game is at Conifer (undefeated this season) on Friday and that the team also plays Ponderosa (April 15, a road rematch of the Huskies’ playoff debut last season) and Evergreen (home, April 21).
“These out-of-conference games are crucial to execute well in,” Trombetta said. “When you beat the Windsors and, hopefully, the Conifers, teams like that, you can get some recognition, and hopefully, a good (playoff) seed.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.