Welcome to the “Yes, we do have indoor plumbing on the Western Slope” rundown of all things Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Vail Christian and Vail Mountain School.
Headlining the action is tonight’s Battle Mountain soccer showdown with Mullen in Edwards at 6. We can say it now … the Huskies (8-0) have gotten through the prelims, and done it well. David Cope’s crew has beaten the snot out of the teams it should have. Now, we get to see how good Battle Mountain is. Are they a good Western Slope team or are they something special?
The whole reason that Mullen is on the schedule dates back to the 2008 girls soccer team. Emily LyBarger, Julia Burnett, Kelsey Sanders and company went 15-0 on an all-Western Slope schedule. (Back then, there were no divisions, so everyone played each other twice for 14 games and the 15th “nonconference” tilt was Summit County.) The Huskies got the ninth seed — some things don’t change — and lost to No. 24 Greeley West, 3-2, in the first round of the playoffs.
That was the moment that Cope and Steamboat Springs coach Rob Bohlmann started lobbying for splitting the league into East and West and reducing the Western Slope slate of 12 games, including the playoffs later this month.
Becoming A Contender
Battle Mountain soccer needed to play Front Range teams if it were to be state contender. (This applies in both the spring and fall. The Huskies boys run to the state title in 2012 actually started with a 4-2 win over Cheyenne Mountain, a perennial playoff power, in 2011. That team knew it could play with anyone after that game.)
So enter, Mullen. The Mustangs are 3-4, but just throw that out the window. Their losses are to Douglas County (4-2), Regis (2-1), Castle View (2-1) and Fairview (3-1). All are 5A schools, and Mullen wasn’t, by any means, run off the pitch in any of those games. The Mustangs smacked Bear Creek and Loveland, both 5A schools, 5-0, and have a 4-1 win over Wheat Ridge, which is 4A soccer royalty.
With Mullen’s credentials established, Battle Mountain need not cower in fear. These two teams met down in Denver last spring and played to a 2-2 draw, with the Mustangs scoring late.
A Little Adversity
This is going to be a game. (And as a side note, thank you. I am so sick of lots-of-goals-to-nothing.) In fact, I really hope that the Huskies trail at some point. While goalie Mindy Vickers just did a spit take reading this — Mindy, you are always the spear of the spear, as far as I am concerned — I want to see how the team responds.
Again, going back to that 2008 team, the only time those Huskies trailed was in that playoff game. That’s not good. If the Huskies go where they want to go, then a little adversity wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Battle Mountain begins what for all intents and purposes is the serious part of the regular season tonight — Mullen, at Glenwood, Palisade, at Coal Ridge, Silver Creek and the Slope playoffs (probably some combination of Glenwood and Palisade again).
The challenge is to prove that, yes, in addition to having indoor plumbing out here in the wilds of the Slope, we have good soccer.
Don’t bet against these Huskies.
• Baseball predictions: The Dodgers, Cardinals Nationals, A’s, Tigers and Red Sox win the divisions. The wild cards are the Giants, Braves, Yankees and Orioles. Now, people, you know whom I think will really win the NL West, but I’m just putting the hex on the godless infidels from Los Angeles by picking them. It is an even-numbered year, and we all know what that really means.
• Back to preps, Huskies lacrosse plays at Conifer today in a similar test to that of the school’s soccer team. No. 8 Conifer suffered its first loss of the season on Tuesday to No. 10 Alexander Dawson, 12-10. Who’s No. 9? The Huskies. Avoid the whistles, guys.
• Speaking of lacrosse, The Huskies ladies laxers beat Grand Junction, 12-7, on Thursday. That’s the first win for Battle Mountain girls lacrosse over Grand Junction. To celebrate, the team will head down to Durango. (There really should be a better prize than that.) Keep rolling, ladies.
• Eagle Valley baseball should be well rested after its game against Delta was postponed. The Devils have a twinbill at Rifle on Saturday. This is big, fellas. The Bears are usually the third and final team to make the postseason out of the Slope. Last year’s games with Rifle were 4-1 and 3-1 losses, so it’s not like you’re playing a team that’s miles above you.
Catch the ball. Throw the ball. Catch the ball. I say that because the biggest thing undermining Eagle Valley baseball is defense. Please don’t take it the wrong way, guys. I yell it at the Giants, too.
• Things that make me feel old: Kids keeping score of a baseball game on an iPad. Really? Scorebook and pencil, people. Sydney Sappenfield of VMS scored her first goal on Tuesday. I covered a ski meet in 1999 at Beaver Creek when her dad, Ross, was coaching VMS. When we skied down from Bear Trap — yes, Freud was skiing — Sydney, all bundled up in a baby carriage, was with her mother. Then, there’s Emily Cope, Battle Mountain sophomore. Her dad handed me a piece of paper for Town Talk in 1997 — the Vail Daily didn’t have email then. It was her birth announcement.
And, if you aren’t doing anything on Saturday, it’s the Eagle Valley Invitational. That’s Devils, Huskies and Saints track. Go cheer them on.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.