EDWARDS — It’s not like Battle Mountain soccer has been a barren wasteland of talent.
Andy Banner, Tyler Cole, Erik Garcia, Connor Tedstrom and Joe LyBarger have all won the 4A Slope’s Player of the Year honor. That distinguished list doesn’t include other defining players like Scotty Ligouri (first to 20 goals in a season), Evie Gonzalez (arguably the program’s best defender), Kyle Moore (still the only Division I player from Battle Mountain) or Edgar Hernandez (Mr. Clutch).
Wednesday night, Huskies senior Roberto Diaz did something no other soccer player in the program’s history has ever achieved — all-American status.
At the end-of-season banquet, Huskies coach David Cope announced that Roberto Diaz is a National Soccer Coaches of Association of America all-American and will play in the High School all-American game in Philadelphia in December.
“There’s some real lineage there,” Cope said. “We’ve had some great players. Roberto came up through the system at Berry Creek Middle School, the Vail Valley Soccer Club and WECMRD, and then through our program. Whenever we did 5-on-5 in indoor soccer or 6-on-6 or 8-on-8 (drills), somehow Roberto’s team always won. That became true when we would play 11 a side with a uniform on.”
Diaz finished his senior season with 18 goals and 13 assists. In addition to being all-American, he’s all-state, the Slope’s Player of the Year and leads a hefty Battle Mountain contingent on the all-league rolls.
Junior Brandon Osorio joins Diaz as an all-leaguer. Burro, as Osorio was better-known to his teammates as, to Diaz or Diaz to Burro was a regular happening. No. 7 finished with 12 goals and 11 assists. Osorio also returns for his senior year with second-team, all-state honors.
Alexis Robles got the Huskies’ third first-team selection, and it was richly deserved. As a junior, Robles was scheduled to get the call-up to varsity for the Huskies’ state run. Instead, he hurt his knee and missed it all. As a senior, Robles left nothing to chance and was a huge part (11 goals) in Battle Mountain’s third-straight trip to the state’s elite eight.
Midfielder Kevan Aubel had all of one goal this season. Stipulated, it was a pretty big one — the golden goal in overtime against Steamboat Springs in December. Aubel is one of three honorable mentions because he was essentially the glue of the team.
Defender Ryan Wood joins him. Wood moved to the back line and headed up the team’s new defense. (Battle Mountain graduated everyone there from the state-title team, including goalie Christian Espinoza.) The new unit gave up just 22 scores in 18 games.
Wood also scored a goal this year and would be disappointed if his marker against Durango was not noted.
Sophomore Uriel Lopez rounds out the honorable mentions. He had two goals and six helpers this year and will likely be a key returnee.
Vail Mountain School soccer coach Pete Petrovski would rather not let it be known that he was voted the 3A Slope Coach of the Year.
Too bad, Coach.
When you take over a program that went 4-8-1 the previous year and log a 9-5-2 mark and make the second round of the state playoffs, you deserve props.
Petrovski said the usual about how this award was a reflection of the team’s effort, and that’s correct. The 3A Slope’s coaches also acknowledged it with three VMS all-league selections and two honorable mentions.
Striker Garrett Cerny and midfielder Clayton Kirwood both got the nod. No surprise there. They combined for 26 goals in 2013.
A nice pick was Brandon Rosenbach, the team’s sweeper. Offense-oriented players always get all-league, and defense is usually forgotten. Petrovski said of Rosenbach, “I don’t know where we would have been without him.”
The honorable mentions are goalie William Sterett and midfielder Ryan Schmidt.
Eagle Valley placed two on the honorable-mention rolls in seniors Alan Caraveo and David Ortiz.
“They were both captains and had the capability to play anywhere,” Devils coach Bratzo Horruitiner said. “They were experienced players and also played a supportive role in practice and in games.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and firstname.lastname@example.org.