Banner lifts Huskies in OT
EDWARDS – A cold rain came down during the first half of the Battle Mountain-Summit soccer game Tuesday at Freedom Field in Edwards.By the second half, the rain had turned to snow, chilling players and fans alike. And, as required under such conditions by Murphy’s Law, the game had to go overtime. But, the Huskies were feeling a whole lot warmer at the end. Four minutes into the extra frame, Battle Mountain’s Harrison Brown blasted a ball down the left side onto which teammate Andy Banner ran. Banner beat his defender to the right, drew out Summit goalie Kylor Dossett and flicked the ball into the net with the outside of his right, golden boot for the golden goal and a 2-1 win over the Tigers.”I can’t even describe it. It was amazing,” a soaked Banner said. “That was the most intense game I ever played. That means a lot right here.”I saw that (Brown) played it. I knew that I had to get there. I though the defender was going to get there before me, but I stepped in front of him. Then, I thought I missed. It was like slow motion. When it went in, I was so happy.””I just had to get the ball out of there. I’m on defense,” Brown said. “That’s my job. I can’t let it get past me. I’m relying on Banner’s speed most of the time. So, if it’s going over the defender’s head, he’s getting to it.”
He got to it and did the deed, sending the Huskies into a dogpile, the like not seen since Battle Mountain beat Vail Mountain in 1999 to go to the postseason.Chances missedSummit coach Peter Shafroth and company couldn’t help but feel this one slipped away from the Tigers. Summit dominated the second half of play. Among the Tigers’ better chances included a nice save from Huskies Josh Ruark on Summit’s Andrew Quinonez on a corner kick and Battle Mountain’s Everado Gonzales’ clear off the line, denying Chris Nowakiwsky an open net.”We dominated the second half,” Shafroth said. “They deserved that last goal they got. That’s a killer when you dominate the second half like we did and we couldn’t get a goal in. But, that’s all right. It was a great game. I take my hat off to them. They held.”In truth, both teams had their opportunities. Early in the first half, Battle Mountain controlled the tempo. Banner had created two chances for the Huskies, one to Edgar Hernandez and one to Antonio Aparicio. Aparicio also nearly had a goal, only to be denied by Dossett.
“I thought they were good team and they were the better team in the second half. They created chances,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “Obviously, Evie cleared it off the line. Going into overtime, we would have been pretty happy with to leave here, 1-1. We even changed the formation to be a little more defensive and see if we could sneak one on the counter attack, which is exactly what happened.”Stellar goaltendingWhile Dossett was the unfortunate victim of the golden goal, both goalies played sensationally, especially given the conditions. Dossett made a gorgeous save on an indirect kick from Hernandez. The ball deflected off the Summit wall, changing the ball’s course, but Dossett soared into the air for a highlight-reel stop.Meanwhile, Ruark was ever steady on countless free kicks, which Summit boomed on the Huskies net.And the one time Ruark was out of position, it was Gonzales to the rescue for Battle Mountain.
“Evie saves my rear end half the time,” Brown said. “He’s quiet, but when he gets to the ball, it’s loud.”Indicative of how close this game was, both teams’ goals were off free or penalty kicks. Banner gave Battle Mountain the lead early in the second half with an indirect which ricocheted off the Summit wall and in. Minutes later, Nowakiwsky scored for Summit on a PK.Confidence builder for both teamsThough the Tigers came out on the short end of the stick, Shafroth felt it was a good learning experience for his team, especially with Golden coming to town Thursday in a Jeffco Conference showdown.”I think they realize that we can compete with possibly anyone in the state,” said Shafroth, whose team fell to 4-1-3. “We certainly competed with Battle Mountain and that was one undefeated team and Golden will be another. Again, it lets us know where were and we at least made it into overtime. They’ll see and grow from it. They’ll learn that if you dominate a half, you better put a couple in. That’s been a problem for us this year. We’re not closing too well.”
Meanwhile, Battle Mountain, 6-0 in the Slope and 8-0, overall has a much deserved break before heading to Rifle Tuesday. Nevertheless, there will be some carry over.”It’s unbelievable. We’ve heard so much about this team,” Brown said. “They tied with Mullen who was second (in the state) last year. This is huge. This is going to keep our team going all year.”Just for kicksShafroth had postgame props for Dossett, Nowakiwsky, Kevin Pelen and Aaron George. As for Battle Mountain, Man of the Match was Banner, while Unsung hero was Gonzales. … Do we see a pattern? In its first eight games, Battle Mountain has blown a team out followed by a 2-1 win. No kidding, that’s four times in a row. “Dane called it before it even started,” Banner said. “Two-one, that’s our score.” ” That bodes well for Rifle game next week,” Cope joked. … Tuesday game was moved from Eagle-Vail to Edwards and it’s safe to say that was a good decision. Freedom Field held up beautifully, whereas Eagle-Vail was buried in snow. “There’s not a single puddle out on this field,” Cope said. This is a great asset for the county to have and the commissioners should be commended for having done it.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Colorado