Battle Mountain falls to Evergreen, 3-1
EVERGREEN – There are no easy words after a playoff loss.
“The best team won, but a very good team lost,” Battle Mountain soccer coach David Cope said after the No. 10 Huskies fell to No. 2 Evergreen, 3-1, in Tuesday night’s state quarterfinal playoff game.
State dreams die hard. And, yes, it was difficult that the season-ender came at the hands of Evergreen for the third-straight year, but there was some pride that Battle Mountain was there.
The Huskies (14-2-2) overcame numerous obstacles during the regular season to repeat as 4A Slope champions. Also along the way, the Huskies recorded their biggest win in years, a 4-2 victory over then-No. 5-ranked Cheyenne Mountain.
Despite Tuesday’s loss, the playoffs were also fantastic for the Huskies. They knocked off Lewis-Palmer, 3-1, and got to host a second-round game for the first time since 2005 when Sand Creek upset Montrose. There would be no second upset for Sand Creek as Battle Mountain stomped on the Scorpions, 7-1, becoming only the third team in the program’s history to make the state quarterfinals.
Evergreen’s Scott Boland scored what was a potentially-deflating goal early to give the Cougars a 1-0 lead. As has been characteristic for the Huskies all year, they came back on a nice tally from Gunnar Wilson to Erick Briones.
The Cougars scored on a free kick that literally hit one of its players on the head – not a designed header – and deflected in for a 2-1 advantage. Battle Mountain still felt like things were OK at the break.
“I told the guys that, if at the beginning of the season that we won league and were down 2-1 to Evergreen in the playoffs, I’d take it.”
Battle Mountain, learning from past games against Evergreen, didn’t want to move a man forward too early. Roberto Diaz finally got the green light to go forward, but with eight minutes left, Evergreen countered and that was that.
“They celebrated like they won the World Cup, and that’s big respect to us,” Cope said. “They knew they were in a game.”
Evergreen faces the winner of Air Academy and Niwot on Saturday in the semifinals.
In the meantime, seniors Nick Vossler, Ze Barbosa, Bryan Aubel, Zach Wilkinson, Tommy Travers, Christian Nichols and David Guttierez played their final soccer game for Battle Mountain.
“Our seniors were an eclectic mix of leaders, funny men and foreign-exchange students,” Cope said. “There a great group of guys., Not all of them played a ton, but all of them contributed to the chemistry of the team. And that is what we learned this year – team chemistry outweighs talent. Everyone working toward the greater good made us a better team.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.