Huskies handle Bears with offense | VailDaily.com

Huskies handle Bears with offense

Ian Cropp

Bret Hartman/Vail DailyRifle goalie Justin Harris attempts to block a goal off the foot of Battle Mountain's Edgar Hernandez Tuesday at Battle Mountain. The Huskies won, 6-3.

EAGLE-VAIL – Goalkeepers have nightmares about these kinds of games.And coaches dream about six-goal offensive performances.Battle Mountain’s offense exploded in the first half with five goals, and the Huskies held on to beat the Rifle Bears, 6-3. Both teams had numerous scoring chances in the 90-minute scoring festival. Statistically speaking, Rifle goalkeeper Justin Harris may as well have been a hockey goalie. Harris made 32 saves on 38 shots on goal, including a spectacular diving save on a penalty kick.”The hardest part was focusing after I got scored on, and keeping my head in the game,” Harris said.After allowing five goals in the first half, Harris limited the potent Battle Mountain offense to one goal.But what a first half it was for the Huskies. The scoring started early, and didn’t let up.

“I was blown away by the levels we reached,” said Battle Mountain coach Dave Cope.”All five goals we had in the half were fabulous.”On Battle Mountain’s first shot of the game, Isaac Anderson launched a shot from 15 yards outside the goalkeeper’s box over a diving Harris. A few minutes later, Anderson struck again.Joel Gonzales started the play by racing down the left side of the field with the ball. Gonzales then found Edgar Hernandez in the center of the box. With a nice touch, Hernandez led a streaking Anderson with a pass to the right side of the box. Anderson smacked the ball into the top left corner of the net to make it 2-0 Battle Mountain.”Opening up early was a key part of the game,” Anderson said.The Huskies did a great job of controlling the ball throughout the half, while the Bears had trouble clearing the ball out of their end.”We came out a tad flat, and Battle Mountain dictated that,” said Rifle coach Tom Taucher. “And when you score on the first shot, it gets you on your heels a little bit.”Goal, goals, goals

On Battle Mountain’s third goal, the ball started to register frequent flyer miles. Tyler Cole settled the ball 35 yards from the net, then rifled a shot that hugged the left goal post.The forth Battle Mountain goal came off a loose ball in front of the Rifle net. With tons of Huskies in front of the net, Hernandez found the ball on his foot, and put it home. Woodruff chipped the fifth goal in after moving around a diving Harris.In the second half, Rifle jump-started its offense.”We scored three goals in the second half. We had two open nets we missed and we put one shot by the post, so it could have been tied at six,” said Taucher.Stuart Stapleton started the scoring for the Bears a few minutes into the second half. Ryan Melody passed the ball to Stapleton, who put the ball by DJ Van Curen. Van Curen played the second half in net for Battle Mountain.The next goal came off the foot of Adrian Macias on a scramble in front of the Battle Mountain net. Then came a Huskies goal from Gustavo Bronfield, who had been threatening to score all night. Macias added another for Rifle to bring the game to 6-3.Despite letting up three goals in the second half, Battle Mountain was pleased with the overall performance.”When you play that well in the first half, it’s going to be difficult to sustain that in the second half,” Cope said. “It’s a huge win for us.”

Last year, Rifle handed Battle Mountain its only loss of the season. This game was Rifle’s first loss of the season.”We’ve beaten four good teams so far,” said Taucher. “We are more looking at our play over the long run than one game.”Battle Mountain came into the game without having played for almost a week.”You always wonder, coming back from a weekend without a game, how everybody will be,” Cope said. “I was impressed with the ability we had to move the ball quickly on the attack, and place it to a third running man.”For more soccer pictures, go to the vaildaily.com photo galleriesSports writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado