Battle Mountain soccer advances with 3-0 win
Teague strikes twice
EDWARDS — It was worth the wait.
After a hurry-up-and-wait build-up to the postseason, Battle Mountain soccer took care of business during the first round of the 4A state playoffs with a 3-0 win against Northfield on Thursday evening.
No. 9 Battle Mountain dispatched No. 24 Northfield, and advances to play Silver Creek on Saturday in the round of 16. Kickoff time has not been determined.
“It was nice to finally play,” senior defender Maggie Skidmore said. “There was a lot of working up to it. There was anxiety wondering whether we were going to play. We came in confident and showed on the field.”
Thursday’s game was meant to be played on Wednesday, but the Nighthawks bus slid off Interstate 70 coming down Vail Pass — no one was hurt — postponing the match for 24 hours.
Did the uncertainty of when the game was going to be played lead to a slow start? Huskies coach David Cope acknowledged that the team’s routine was different and that the Huskies woke up Thursday not knowing if there was to be a game.
On the other hand, while maybe the goals didn’t come quickly, the Huskies were in firm control all the way through.
“I didn’t really think it was a slow start,” said senior Audrey Teague, who scored two of Battle Mountain’s three. “I think we knew what we had to do because of all the upsets that have been happening (during the first round). We knew we had to do our game. Although we didn’t score early-ish, we still were getting shots on, so we were knocking on their door from the beginning.”
And, yes, early-ish is now a word now Teague said it.
Welcome back, Skidmore(s)
Maggie Skidmore returned to the lineup on Thursday after sitting two weeks with an MCL sprain. It should be noted that older siblings, Jack and Mallory, were also in the stands.
As for Maggie, the Huskies took it slowly with her during her recovery preferring her to be at full strength.
“The back four has been comprised of five players this year, and so it was nice to have Maggie back in there,” Cope said of Addie Smith, Claire Krueger, Skidmore, Isabel McMurrain and Cayla Woodruff. “That Maggie-Claire partnership is an iconic thing.”
First, the back four is actually the back six, including goalie Wilder Isom. Second, it’s interesting how Cope calls Skidmore and Krueger a pair. That’s high praise. Battle Mountain has had notable duos in Kelsey Sanders and Julia Burnett as well as Acacia Ortiz and Emily Cope, pairs that always know how each other were operating.
Whatever it’s called, the Huskies defense recorded its 13th shutout of the season.
Challenging No. 9
After Teague was held scoreless — gasp — in a 2-2 tie against Glenwood Springs to conclude the regular season, the Huskies coaching staff challenged her for the playoffs.
“Maybe, she was a little frustrated after the Glenwood game,” Cope said and Teague is sporting a shiner as a souvenir from that match. “We just challenged her. Just get it on target. You don’t have to break the back of the frame. I thought those two finishes were great.”
Challenge apparently passed. Bailey Murray sprung McMurrain for a sensational run down the left side. McMurrain’s shot was stopped but Teague was there for the rebound.
The game was uncomfortably close until the 64th minute when the Huskies struck twice. Teague got her second, quickly followed by Kate Mitchell.
Onto Silver Creek
The extra day off on Wednesday did help the Huskies in their bracketology knowledge. They saw No. 23 Glenwood upset Palmer Ridge as well as No. 19 Steamboat Springs handling Pueblo County, 6-1.
“Honestly, going into playoffs, I don’t think we can count on (rating-percentage index) in determining a teams ability,” Teague said. “As I team, we just need to play our game. I think we’ve definitely had that mentality throughout the season. The 31st team could be the best team we play all year. We beat the No. 3 team (Golden), but we’ve tied the 23rd seed (Glenwood). I don’t think the RPI says anything.”
No. 9 Battle Mountain faces No. 8 Longmont on Saturday. Only two Huskies girls soccer teams — the 2014 and 2015 squads — have made the Elite Eight of state.
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