Battle Mountain Huskies soccer blanks Northridge, 3-0, heads to Niwot for Round 2
EDWARDS — The Battle Mountain soccer team took care of the preliminaries, now the real tournament begins.
The 14th-seeded Huskies dispatched No. 19 Northridge, 3-0, in Round 1 of the state playoffs on Wednesday, Oct. 25, in Edwards. The first round usually separates the wheat from the chaff.
And here comes some serious wheat as Battle Mountain (13-3) heads to No. 3 Niwot on Tuesday, Oct. 31.
Battle Mountain set up the matchup with two Mauricio Castillo goals.
The first was a beautiful give-and-go with Jorge Membreno during the sixth minute.
“Just saw him in the corner of my eye, laid it out to him and he gave it back to me,” Castillo said. “I wanted to put it top, left.”
And there it went for a 1-0 lead. Of course, the first goal of any soccer game is big, but, in a playoff game, that score serves as big, fluffy comforter of self-assurance.
“All of the momentum goes toward us and they don’t get to sit back with the lead,” Huskies senior keeper Alan Villegas said. “They had to go after us and that opens up spaces.”
Villegas had a good view of those spaces. Battle Mountain’s offense pelted the Grizzlies’ end. Credit Northridge keeper David Reveles for making some spectacular saves.
And, if there was a point of concern for Huskies nation, it was a lack of finishing during the first half.
Castillo got that much needed second tally in the 54th off a Tony Velasco throw-in. Juan Macias iced it with a very deserved goal. The senior’s offensive numbers aren’t where they were last year because he’s in a more organizational role this season, so this was a just dessert.
Huskies coach David Cope is always happy to see his team go through, and the goals were nice, but something else had him pumped after the game.
“I thought we were defensively excellent all over the field, not just the back four and the keeper — they were great — but all 11 guys,” the coach said. “When you see your marquee offensive guys tracking back 30 yards to make a tackle, you know you’ve bought in defensively.”
The last time Battle Mountain beat a No. 3? Well, that would be The Evergreen Game on Nov. 1, 2012. Yes, it was the quarterfinal of the Huskies’ 20-0 state title, but that was the mountain that had to be scaled.
The reason history is important — aside from the fact that Cope is social-science teacher — is that it may provide clues for the road ahead.
Last year, the Huskies faced the Northern League champion, Silver Creek, in Longmont during Round 2, winning 2-1. Niwot is this year’s Northern champ.
While the Huskies beating Silver Creek was a mild upset of a No. 9 over a No. 8, chaos reigned in the second round last fall.
No. 17 D’Evelyn beat No. 1 Cheyenne Mountain, 3-2, sending the Jags to Edwards for an unexpected home quarterfinal game for the Huskies. No. 2 Valor Christian went down to Lewis-Palmer. No. 4 Air Academy and No. 5 Mullen also fell.
The theme in the Huskies’ locker room is that a team’s seed means all of the inside of a doughnut.
“It helps you know that you can do it,” Villegas said. “Obviously, it’s good experience that you’ve been there.”
“(Niwot’s) had a great season,” Cope said. “They won the Northern League. Last year, we played Silver Creek, and that was a similar situation. I like our chances. The team we beat tonight lost to the No. 2 seed in 5A, 2-0. So we’re coming into Niwot playing well.”