Battle Mountain hosts Evergreen
Huskies’ girls host first postseason game
By Chris Freud
Daily Sports Editor
Battle Mountain girls soccer fullback Christina Harrison’s season has been a mirror image of the Huskies’ fortunes this year.
“This year, I was hoping to start on varsity,” she said. “Starting JV was a kind of a disappointment. But, we were down a player for the team in a game and Mr. Cope offered me to play varsity. And so, I took it.”
Much like Harrison, the Huskies got off to a disappointing start. Battle Mountain opened 0-2-1, including a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Fruita-Monument.
Those lows are a distant memory now. When Kate Van Hee got hurt in warmups against Glenwood in the league opener, Harrison stepped in and has become a fixture on the backline, the team’s strength. Meanwhile, the Huskies have plowed their way to a second-place finish in the 4A Slope with an impressive 9-2-1 league record.
Their reward is a state-seeding game at the friendly confines of Freedom Field in Edwards today at 11 a.m. against Evergreen. The winner goes through to the 4A state playoffs. The Huskies have never qualified for state as a 4A team and their last appearance was in 2000, a loss to D’Evelyn.
Evergreen is the fourth seed from the 4A Jeffco Conference. The Cougars finished 5-4 in league and 6-9 overall. Huskies head coach David Cope doesn’t buy into their record, though.
“They’re quite similar to us in the sense that they don’t have a huge goal scorer. They’ve got a girl who’s similar to Heidi (Lauterbach),” Cope said. “They’re pretty balanced in their scoring. They’ve suffered some heavy defeats to some good teams like us. They’ve had some close games in which they’ve been successful and won. Their record isn’t as good as ours, but their league, perhaps, is stronger. Our record is better, but our league, perhaps, is weaker. I think it’s a game that either team could win.”
Cope is likely onto something. The Jeffco features powers like Ralston Valley and Golden. The latter has already knocked out Rifle, 9-1, in a state-seeding game played Thursday.
The teams have only one common opponent on the schedule – Steamboat Springs. Battle Mountain lost to the Sailors, 5-1, and 7-2, while Steamboat took out Evergreen, 3-0. Cope got a scouting report on the Cougars from Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann.
“He felt like we gave them more problems defensively. Steamboat’s defense had more problems with us,” Cope said. “We scored in both games. We were ahead in both games and Evergreen wasn’t able to score. He felt like we were aggressively coming forward and attacking.
“And, he thought we should do that against them because they tended to be a little passive against Steamboat and a little bit defensive. But, that may mean that they looked at Steamboat as a really good team, and decided to play that way.”
As has been their wont this year, the Huskies would prefer a low-scoring game where their defense can control the tempo.
“We aren’t disconnected as like defense, forwards and midfielders,” fullback Morgan Wallace said. “We are just one big team and the connection between every line, it’s like the whole team is a defense. I think that’s what keeps us all pretty close. So, that’s how we get the ball going forward.”
That doesn’t mean the Huskies lack for offense. Lauterbach leads Battle Mountain’s scoring arsenal, while Keegan Garnsey, Destia Day, Lauren Arnold, Christy Madison and Erika Ghent can pack a punch. Rebecca Fick led the Cougars with seven goals.
Then, there is homefield. The Huskies are playing on their literally familiar home turf. They are preparing for a hot day, so expect Cope to use his bench early and often. There’s also the motivation of keeping the season going.
“I’m so pumped,” Wallace said. “I’m glad the seniors got the (home) game. They’re such a great bunch and I love being with them. It’s been a great season. This is great team. We’re, hopefully, going to go a long way.”