DeChant lifts Huskies in opener
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” No one likes to see it happen, but it did.
Whether it affected the outcome of Tuesday’s Battle Mountain-Summit County soccer game is certainly up for debate. Either way, chalk it up to another interesting chapter in this series.
With Battle Mountain already leading, 1-0, in the sixth minute, the Huskies’ Cody Hervert rifled a rebound back toward the Summit net, and the shot glanced off the arm of Tigers’ Spencer Hebert for a hand ball.
Hebert drew a red cardfor an intentional hand ball in the box, leaving the visiting Tigers to play the final 74 minutes down a man.
Whatever one’s partisan leanings, the bottom line was that the Huskies Davy DeChant rang up the first hat trick of his career as Battle Mountain knocked off Summit, 4-1.
To card or not to card
Hervert’s shot bounced off Hebert’s upper arm inside the box, which led to a penalty kick from Battle Mountain’s Brian Morales. Tigers goalie Ben Ferris made the first of several brilliant saves, stopping Rodriguez on the penalty, so no immediate harm was done, but Summit was clearly at a disadvantage for the rest of the game.
As Summit coach Justin Turri correctly pointed out after the game, Hebert made no distinct motion with his arm or hand to prevent the ball from going toward the net.
“It’s a questionable call,” Turri said. “I think it’s a tough call to make in the first five minutes of the game when it hits the defender’s biceps. … I disagree with the call. It put us under a lot of pressure early.”
Battle Mountain fans can argue that the Huskies were up 1-0 already ” courtesy of DeChant’s first from fellow striker Tyler Madison ” and that Hebert’s block of the ball ” intentional or not ” prevented the game from going to 2-0 in the Huskies’ favor.
In the sequence leading up to the hand ball, Madison had a golden chance to score, only to be denied by Ferris. The rebound went out to Hervert at the top of the box with Ferris still on the ground.
“It’s just unfortunate because it changed the game,” Huskies coach David Cope said.
As much as no referee wants to send a player off under any circumstance, if he or she calls for a P.K. in this situation, the red card is automatic.
All that having been said, the Huskies got off to a flying start, and somehow the Tigers managed to weather the storm. Ferris was brilliant not only on Morales’ penalty kick, but also stymieing DeChant twice.
Just minutes after Hebert was sent off, the Huskies had an indirect kick. DeChant struck the ball perfectly, but Ferris soared toward the corner, simply robbing the Battle Mountain senior. DeChant later had a breakaway, but Ferris charged forward and smothered the chance. The Huskies could have easily been up 3-0 very early, instead of going into the break, 1-0.
Ferris’ play earned him the praise of both coaches and a bunch of “Great game, keep” comments in the postgame handshake.
“Ben, since last year, has been getting better and better,” Turri said. “This game, he played amazing. Ben probably had his best game I’ve seen so far. He kept us in it.”
DeChant wouldn’t be kept down all day though. kept coming and started the season in fine style. Striking in the second minute was not only a big confidence-boost for Battle Mountain, but for him.
“It’s such a relief. You really want to start fast,” DeChant said. “When you get one like that, the pressure is off. The jitters are gone and you can go play your game.”
Battle Mountain played its game, deftly reversing the field and possessing the ball all afternoon. The Huskies’ effort came to fruition early in the second half with a promising sign.
Battle Mountain’s second goal started from its area of greatest concern entering the season, center midfield. Sophomore Morales started the run with a nifty pass to the left flank where Hervert was waiting. Hervert sent the ball back into the box, in the process drawing out Ferris. The Huskies’ Sergio Sifuentes pounced on the open net for a 2-0 lead.
“That was a really well-worked goal,” Cope said. “In the walk-through (Monday), we shadow-played that goal. The idea is that Cody’s in a place, and Brian has to see him. Brian has to execute the ball. Cody has to take an angle toward the goal and it was a good finish by Sergio.”
DeChant took it from there with a great individual effort on his second goal. After several attempts, he got the hat trick on Morales’ second assist of the day. For the record, Cope took DeChant off the field and congratulated him, saying that a hat trick at any level is a tremendous accomplishment.
Summit had two exceptional scoring chances in the first half, thanks to Hunter Black. Playing with bruised ribs, Black had two breakaways, one of which was stopped by Huskies netminder Clint Hervert. Black’s other chance went wide left.
The Tigers finally got on the board late on a Hayden van Andel goal.
“We didn’t score in our first game (against Steamboat Springs Thursday), and we had plenty of chances,” Turri said. “It’s kind of a mental thing. We’re not finishing our chances. For Hayden to do that at the end of the game is great. It gave a lot of confidence to our team.”
Summit (0-2) continues its Western Slope adventure by hosting Vail Mountain Friday at 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium. Meanwhile, Battle Mountain opens Slope play Thursday against Palisade at 3 p.m. in Eagle-Vail.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.