EDWARDS — Someone had to end Battle Mountain soccer’s streak, and Summit County was more than happy to do the honors.
The visiting Tigers nipped the Huskies, 2-1, Wednesday night in Edwards, ending defending state-champion and No. 1-ranked Battle Mountain’s 27-game winning streak, which dated back to the 2011 state-playoff quarterfinals at Evergreen.
Summit freshman Thomas DeBonville scored the second of his two goals during the 72nd minute, breaking a 1-1 tie. He took a beautiful pass on a counter attack from fellow frosh Cole Catron and headed the ball past Battle Mountain’s Donnie Leavitt.
“All I saw was Cole. He kicked the ball in,” DeBonville said. “I thought the goalie was going to grab it. I just threw my head up there, and it went in. It was amazing. It took me a couple of seconds to realize it.”
Huskies coach David Cope, normally a pretty subdued presence on the sideline, lobbied for offsides, but to no avail.
“On that goal, I don’t know,” Cope said. “We’ll look at it on video tape tonight. But it doesn’t matter. It was a great goal. The kid got on the end of it. He headed it in. Ultimately, it counts.”
Summit (4-3-1 overall and 3-0-1 in the 4A Slope) celebrated like it had won the World Cup, and deservedly so.
“This one is huge for us,” said Tigers coach Tommy Gogolen, who might well have blown out his other ACL in joy on Tuesday. “We’ve been knocking on the door with Battle Mountain for a couple years now and we finally pulled through. We knew that our team was good enough. We knew we were completely different styles than Battle Mountain, but our guys showed a lot of heart, especially coming off a tough week. I think it officially put our name on the map. We made a huge statement tonight, and Battle Mountain’s a fantastic team.”
Lost in DeBonville’s game-winner were two standout saves by Tigers goalie Noah Glasco just before the score. Glasco parried a rocket off the foot of Battle Mountain’s Alexis Robles over the bar. On the ensuing corner kick, Glasco was there again to deny a Roberto Diaz header.
“We all love Noah,” DeBonville said. “He’s an amazing goalie. We’ve just grown up with him. We are so happy to have him.”
Looking back on Summit’s results, it’s not overly surprising that the Tigers ended Battle Mountain’s streak. The Tigers played the Huskies the closest within the Slope last year with 3-1 and 2-0 losses last year. Summit likely did not get the benefit of the doubt when it came to postseason seeding, drawing No. 31 and taking No. 2 Broomfield to overtime before falling in overtime in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
“We lost to a good team tonight,” Cope said. “Those kids played well. They were opportunistic. They took advantage of our opportunities well. It was a helluva a ride. (Senior defender) Erick Gonzalez has been around a lot of soccer games. We’ve had a lot of Gonzalezes come through this program. He just said it to the boys, ‘Hey, it’s the end of one chapter, and the beginning of a new chapter. Tomorrow, we start writing a new chapter.’”
And it makes it a wide-open race in the 4A Slope. Both Summit and Battle Mountain (7-1, 6-1) control their own destiny with regard to the league titles. The two teams play again in Farmer’s Korner on Oct. 8. On the other hand, both teams have big games before and after that one. Battle Mountain has to go to Steamboat Springs Thursday after next, while Summit heads north on the final day of the season. Both squads have had a really hard time against Eagle Valley, with the Tigers tying the Devils and the Huskies escaping with a 1-0 win last week.
Summit broke the seal on Tuesday’s game, capitalizing on a Battle Mountain defensive miscue. DeBonville took a through ball, which should have been corralled in the air by the Huskies, and earned a breakaway into Battle Mountain’s end. He put it in the onion bag in the 30th minute.
The Tigers also presented Battle Mountain with more defensive speed than the Huskies anticipated.
“Our two outside backs and our two big backs are smart and they’re fast,” Gogolen said. “They’re athletes. They’ve really stepped up this year. Our defense is probably the strongest (part) of our team.”
The Huskies countered by going wide in the second half. Uriel Lopez to Diaz in the 42nd minute was the equalizer.
Summit is at Palisade on Saturday, while Battle Mountain is at Glenwood Springs on Tuesday.
‘This is our time’
As for the end of a remarkable 27-game winning streak, Cope reflected.
“It’s pretty incredible. I’m really glad that these guys got to tack on their own chapter to that 20-0 season,” he said. “We didn’t just end that and start losing games. You see that so often with teams that make a good run, but the next few years are down. I’m just so proud of these guys that they came in this year and said, ‘This is our time. This is our turn, and we’re ready.’ Tonight doesn’t make us a not a good team. You are what your record says you are. We’re 7-1.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.