Battle Mountain boys soccer gets leg up on Eagle Valley
EDWARDS — Battle Mountain soccer won its league opener for the first time since 2014 on Tuesday night.
That sounds kind of strange as the Huskies have won the 4A Slope the last two seasons, but they started both of those title runs with losses to Eagle Valley in Gypsum.
So after beating the archival Devils, 2-0, in Edwards on Tuesday, the Huskies are in the somewhat rare position of actually being 1-0 in league play.
“It’s amazing, first (league) game of the season, it’s nice to get the better of them,” Huskies defender Luke Wilson said. “We’ll see them again.”
And therein lies the lesson — winning and losing the league opener does not a season make. The Huskies started the last two Slope slates 0-1 and finished 11-1 with nice sweatshirts.
“I have complete confidence that my guys will totally bounce back from this,” Devils coach Jere Sims said. “It was a day that we didn’t bring our A-game. This doesn’t reflect the strategy and capabilities of the Eagle Valley soccer fraternity.”
Local soccer fans might want to mark their calendars — the Huskies and Devils meet again on Oct. 5 in Gypsum.
The next generation
Even though the Huskies graduated a good portion of a squad that went to the state finals last fall, they seem to be reloading on the fly.
Yes, returning a starting keeper in Alan Villegas and all-state offensive force in Juan Macias helps, but others are stepping up.
Battle Mountain (2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Slope) scored two goals by people not named Juan Macias, another good sign.
Mauricio Castillo’s run down the left side set up a corner kick. He took it and served it brilliantly into the box. Senior midfielder Blake Moller tapped it right in for a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute.
“I like being up there scoring goals for the team,” said Moller. “Whatever I can do to help the team.”
That’s the correct thing to say, but Moller is also forcing head coach David Cope’s hand in a good way. Moller was on the bubble for playing time before the season began, but two goals in two games forces his name onto Coach’s quarter-page square on game days.
Jorge Membreno also has two goals in as many games. He converted a penalty kick in the 49th minute for insurance.
Meanwhile, on the defensive end, Battle Mountain is holding its own.
Tony Velasco, Gustavo Orona, Wilson and Harry Jaffe with Villegas are holding down the fort.
“That’s great to have not allowed a goal yet,” Cope said. “I think our back four and goal keeper are playing great. They’re just cohesive right now. They’re covering for each other when a mistake is made. When a save needs to be made, Alan is there.”
Much more to come
Eagle Valley (1-1, 0-1) finally gets a home game on Thursday after starting the season at Green Mountain with a win and then a trip to Edwards on Tuesday. The Devils host Rifle at John Ramunno Field at 6 p.m.
Battle Mountain hits the road for its first test away from home on Friday at Montrose at 4 p.m.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.