Battle Mountain soccer tops Evergreen, 1-0
Murray, Bailey, that is, puts Huskies over the top
EDWARDS — “The Rat” struck.
“My coach on the Vail Valley Soccer Club always told me to stay on the goalie to be something he called ‘The Rat,'” said Huskies sophomore Bailey Murray. “So I have to stay on the goalie and annoy her. That’s why I’m ‘The Rat.’ When the ball came, I thought, ‘Do what Steve says.’ I just hit it.”
The coach in question is Steve Lepper, and, Coach, the student learned well. Murray was very annoying.
“She’s good at that,” Huskies goalie Wilder Isom said, with the obligatory punchline.
After that mad scramble off a corner kick from Rayna Kenney in the 42nd minute led to Murray with the ball in the box, she shoved it home for the only score in a 1-0 Battle Mountain win over Evergreen on Tuesday in Edwards.
And that, folks, could be a very big win for the Huskies. Evergreen is a postseason regular, ranked No. 3 in the chsaanow.com poll in 4A and usually wins a lot of games, which theoretically should help the Huskies’ rating-percentage index as the season progresses.
• Perhaps most comforting is that Battle Mountain played much better than it did on Saturday during a 2-0 win over Steamboat Springs. While wins over the Sailors are always good, Battle Mountain, confined by the recent snow to the gym, linked passes nicely and possessed well against a quality opponent.
Ironically, the Huskies played better in the first half but scored early in the second 40 minutes. Soccer can be a silly game that way.
• The Huskies (3-0) took a punch. Evergreen is a physical team and 4A Slope squads generally don’t see that style of play until the postseason, when they’re caught off guard by it.
“I thought the Evergreen team competed and stepped up in the second half,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “They had to. It was great to see our players react to that. How do you react to a physical challenge?”
For a team with postseason ambitions, that’s a good experience in March.
• Battle Mountain has a goalkeeper. Isom was impressive on Tuesday night, particularly when the visiting Cougars stepped it up in the second half.
“I love having the solid back four Claire (Krueger), Izzy (McMurrain), Addie (Smith) and Maggie (Skidmore),” Isom said. “But really when I’m in goal I can see the whole field. I know when they’re coming. I’ve had a lot of experience with the angles. I think just positioning, I have that down.”
Normally, when the phrase “first five” is spoken by Cope, it refers to the first five and last five minutes of a half, good times to pounce. In fairness, the Huskies did score in the first five of the second half.
But this is another use of first five as in games. During the previous first five games of the season the last two springs, the Huskies were 1-8-1, slow starts which make for a tough road to the postseason. Granted Battle Mountain started the last two seasons against powerhouses like Wheat Ridge and D’Evelyn, which doesn’t help a team’s record.
In that context, consider Battle Mountain to be quite happy with a 3-0 start, the third win coming on coach Cope’s father’s birthday on Tuesday. Many happy returns to Alan Cope, who enjoyed the game from the press box with his better half, Hazel.
Battle Mountain returns to league play with a home game against Rifle at 6 p.m. If you have an old schedule, this former road fixture is now in Edwards with the Huskies now paying the Bears a visit on April 27.
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More base areas open means more space for guests to disperse upon, even if those base area openings don’t translate into more actual terrain openings.