Banner, Huskies get by Glenwood
EAGLE-VAIL – One of the oldest Cope-isms in the book is, “A hat trick at any level is a great accomplishment.”
With that out of the way, Battle Mountain edged Glenwood Springs, 3-2, Thursday on the strength of an Andy Banner hat trick, his second of the season.
“It’s good for Andy because he’s really been struggling,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “So, for him to burst out for three at home, he seems to like to play on this field.”
Banner was spraying the kudos around to teammates after the game.
“Chris Gavin had the game of his life,” the junior said. “Tyler (Cole) almost scored on his header. Dane (Jacobs) got his goal robbed. Josh Ruark came in and contributed. Kyle Moore was nagging people in the box. That was amazing. It was a team effort.”
That would certainly describe Banner’s first goal in the fifth minute. The Huskies’ Julio Garcia took the ball down the left side, and served it toward the mouth of the net. Battle Mountain’s Harrison Brown just missed the ball, but Banner was there on the right to slam his shot into the left corner.
In minute No. 12, it was Antonio Aparacio to Banner and the Huskies led 2-0. The rest of the first half was scoreless. In the middle of the second half, Juan Barragon played a nice, long ball to Banner, who rammed it into the net for a seemingly comfortable 3-0 lead.
In the meantime, Glenwood coach Bob Guska wasn’t too pleased with officiating, and made his views known in the second half, going onto the pitch to argue with the officials for several minutes.
“Well, we’ve been getting some unfortunate calls from the referees. Our guy (Ben Guska) gets his knee pulled out and they don’t call a penalty shot. It just seems awful strange,” Bob Guska said. “We’ve had this referee, two or three times in the same type of situations, not all the same type of situations. But, lots of calls that are missed look like they are obvious takedowns.”
Cope, on the other hand, was not miffed by the officiating.
“I just think it was a physical game and I didn’t really see anything that was over the top at all,” he said.
It should be noted that both of Glenwood goals came on kicks, awarded by the referees. Morris Courtade scored on a beautiful, direct kick from 30 yards out. Battle Mountain got called for a hand ball in the box late in the game and Glenwood’s Pat Shepard was more than happy to oblige.
The game had huge playoff implications for both teams. Battle Mountain moved to 4-2 in league, tied in points with Delta (4-3), who lost to Rifle, 2-0, Tuesday.
“This year, in this league, any time you come away with a win, it’s a good win,” Cope said. “So, we’re proud of that. I think we’re also proud of the fact that we played a lot of players today. Anytime, you get to play a lot of players in a close game, there’s a lot of experience gained.”
As for Glenwood, the defending 4A Slope champs, fell to 2-5 in league play.
“We’re going to be sitting and watching the playoffs, instead of being in the playoffs,” Guska said. “These guys are just not playing inspired ball. We’re just losing some decisions because of some nonexistent calls on important calls that aren’t being made, in my opinion. And, then, we’re taking the brunt of it when we retaliate.”
Cope was not as pessimistic as Guska.
“I think they’re going to be a spoiler to somebody,” he said. “With five losses and six (points), if they run the table, they’d have 18. I thought from the beginning of the season, that it was going to take 19 (to make the playoffs). But, it’s a crazy season. You never know. Last year, I thought it would take 15, and we got in with 14.”
Glenwood is next in action Tuesday at home against Palisade at 6 p.m., while the Huskies travel to Moffat Saturday.
Just for kicks: Muzaffer Gazioglu and Joel Gonzales split the win in net. Gonzales made spectacular save late to preserve the win. “That was absolutely amazing,” Banner said. “I can’t say enough about that. He kept us in the game.” … Banner, not surprisingly, was Man of the Match. … Garcia drew a yellow card and will miss the Moffat game Saturday. … Speaking of Moffat: “We just know Moffat wasn’t a bad team. We won, 2-1,” Cope said. “It was very competitive. They have to feel like they might have or should have won the game. It was a great, gut check. We’ve now won two one-goal games at home and, I think, that’s great thing for our team. I think our team can’t underestimate everybody.” … Postgame props from the coach also went to Taylor Roach, Barragon, Aparicio, Garcia and the tireless Connor Drumm. … Dane Jacobs scored a goal in the second half, but it was waved off … The coach’s son Casey Cope, 2, made his debut on the pitch, running onto the field in the second half. Still 12 years or so away from joining the Huskies, according to Dad, it sounds like the young guy is a soccer player. “He got stitches on his forehead the other night (by running into a coffee table,” Dad said. “Through his tears, I could have sworn I heard him say, “I don’t want a sub.'”
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.