Battle Mountain soccer continues to roll
Huskies blank Devils
GYPSUM — Battle Mountain soccer came in waves.
Eagle Valley played valiantly, but an overmatched team can only hold out so long.
The Devils (4-7 overall and 3-6 in the Western Slope) kept the Huskies (10-0-1, 7-0-1) off the board for 30 minutes. Battle Mountain got two in the first half and completely dominated the second half for an emphatic 6-0 victory on Thursday night at John Ramunno field.
“We’re relentless right now,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “It almost accelerates when you put the subs on. We’re just enjoying it. We’ve got a great rhythm going right now, and we can’t wait to play again in 48 hours.”
Battle Mountain will play at Rifle on Saturday as the chase for Slope title No. 5 continues. It’s not only about another sweatshirt, though. The postseason is nearing — four games to go. And with it comes an opportunity for redemption.
The Huskies were the No. 5 seed last fall and got thumped by No. 28 Kennedy, 5-0, during the first round. The theme since has been Virginia men’s college basketball.
The Cavaliers suffered a historic upset to the University of Maryland-Baltimore County during the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2018. No No. 1 seed had ever lost to No. 16. Virginia came back in 2019 and won the national title.
“We’d love to put ourselves in a position to give ourselves a couple of home games,” Cope said. “It’s that U.Va. thing. Can we go from a humiliating loss and advance very far in the playoffs?”
Wearing them down
Thursday’s game was never in doubt, but the outmanned Devils did a superb job of keeping the Huskies off the board.
Hats off in that regard to junior goalkeeper Tirin Cameron, who seems to be making a strong case to make the position his own.
“Tirin’s been playing light’s out,” Devils coach Maggie Sherman said. “He’s grown into that position. The guys can look to him.”
Battle Mountain’s Karsen William and Bryant Ramirez did get shots by Cameron, but the Huskies were only starting.
“We just have to be patient,” Huskies striker Dani Barajas said. “We just have to move the ball around. The other team will get tired of chasing. The goal will come.”
They came in plural. The second half was an onslaught, like pinball. The Huskies moved the ball at will. Barajas scored the next two, followed by the goal of the game.
Joey Leonardo threaded the ball across the box to an onrushing Kevin Vasquez, who slammed it home. Barajas to Antonio Jiminez finished the night.
More to come
While the Huskies will use the final four games to burnish their postseason resume, the Devils still have a lot for which to play. At 4-7, they’re well ahead of last year’s 1-14 record.
Eagle Valley also has the difficult part of the schedule — both Glenwood Springs and Battle Mountain — out of the way.
The Devils host Grand Junction Central on Saturday and hope to finish with a flourish.
“I’ve talked to the guys as to what we can do with the rest of our season, and what statement we can make,” Sherman said. “I think it’s going to be a positive statement.”