Chris Freud: Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley boys soccer headlines big week of games
Apparently, there’s a soccer game happening.
Yep, Battle Mountain at Eagle Valley on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 6 p.m. at John Ramunno Field in Gypsum.
The “in Gypsum” would be the key phrase.
Huskies soccer went 17-3 last season, losing twice to The Classical Academy, the second time in the state-title game. The only other loss of the season was Eagle Valley, 2-1, in overtime … in Gypsum.
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Battle Mountain went 15-3 overall and 11-1 in 4A Slope in 2015. The one league loss? Yes, at Eagle Valley, 1-0.
The 2014 Huskies struggled by the program’s lofty standards. They still managed to beat Steamboat Springs twice. Battle Mountain went to Gypsum … and lost, 2-0.
Yes, Eagle Valley’s pitch is thin — preventing the Huskies from playing wide — but Battle Mountain has found a way to win on the dog patch of grass that is Stubler Memorial Field in Glenwood Springs in six of the last seven years.
It’s two things.
Eagle Valley gets up for this game and usually plays its best soccer. Thursday will be no exception. If anything, then this is the World Cup Final for the Devils.
And then, there’s Battle Mountain and the quicksand. With each loss to the Devils in Gypsum, the Huskies get more and more wound up for the rematch and keep making that hole they’re in bigger.
Can the Huskies exorcise their demons/Devils at Gypsum?
Can the Devils keep their streak going and make a difficult season memorable?
We’ll see you at 6 p.m.
• OK, Battle Mountain, I thought you’d get killed last week against Green Mountain. You impressed me in a 27-23 loss. Rifle’s coming to town thinking it pretty much has a bye week. The Bears don’t think much of you. They’re going to the playoffs and you’re a speed bump on the way to bigger things such as Glenwood Springs and Palisade, the latter being the traditional de facto Slope championship game.
Your task is to get better every week. You can play with these guys.
• Eagle Valley, hold on to the football. No football team from the Kansas City Chiefs to Our Lady of the Worthless Miracle State can win a game while turning over the ball five times, as has been the case for the Devils in their two home games this year.
Yes, you’re a young team, but you’ve got a half a season of football under your belts. You’re not varsity football rookies anymore. Time to win.
Time to say the words: “Ain’t it …”
Believe it or not, this is it for the regular season. Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley are at Rifle today. It’s the last warmup for the Region 1 Meet … in Frisco?
This oughta be interesting. The last time cross-country regionals were at close to that altitude was 2006 when the Huskies hosted at the Willow Creek Par-3 across from the old high school.
Naturally, it snowed, and parents shoveled the course.
Let it snow. The Huskies and Devils can run in the white stuff.
What’s going to be really fun is seeing Evergreen, Golden, Green Mountain, Littleton, Mullen and Wheat Ridge give it a go at around 9,500 or so feet. When the Huskies and Devils go down to the Front Range or, say, Rifle, it’s like they’re running at sea level.
Speaking of which, look for some fast times in Rifle on Thursday. Just a guess.
• We joked about it in the recap of Eagle Valley-Vail Christian — Emma Lasse and Becy Glutova aren’t the best setters. Of course, coach Jackie Rindy was having a little fun there by changing things up.
What is interesting is how well-rounded those two are, setting aside. I’ve seen them both dig, pass and block. What’s more the Devils are getting into a nice groove. Yes, it’s going to be challenging to spend most of this month on the road, but this squad has the goods to make a run.
• I’m mixed about 4A and 2A teams playing. I get that they’re fun rivalries because everyone knows everyone. I know it’s easy and inexpensive scheduling. (If you’re not aware, then travel is the biggest line item in a Western Slope athletic budget.)
I like the underdog aspect of Vail Mountain or Vail Christian beating a 4A. Sometimes, they can be really exciting games.
But there really is no upside for 4A Eagle Valley or Battle Mountain to play Vail Mountain or Vail Christian. If Eagle Valley beats Vail Christian as was the case on Tuesday, Oct. 3, the reaction is, “So what? Shouldn’t the Devils beat a 2A?” If VMS beats Battle Mountain, which also happened on Tuesday, it’s considered a bad loss, even though VMS has the potential to be a very good team this year.
• Speaking of which, the Gore Rangers can take a step in the right direction — read, please play consistently — when they are a part of the Queen of the Mountain tournament at Battle Mountain on Saturday, Oct. 7.
See you at all of the games.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.