Defenders highlight Huskies soccer winners

Andrew Herrera, sliding, is part of a defensive -oriented group of honorees for Battle Mountain soccer.
Anthony Thornton | Daily file photo |

VMS awards

We haven’t forgotten about the Gore Rangers. The Vail Mountain School’s awards banquet is Tuesday and, out of respect soccer coach Pete Petrovski and volleyball coach Mike Garvey, the Vail Daily will publish the Gore Rangers’ honorees next week.

EDWARDS — It was a different year for Battle Mountain soccer and that’s reflected in the Huskies postseason honors.

Four of the five Battle Mountain honorees are defenders, and the fifth did actually spend some time on defense.

This is not your older brother’s Huskies soccer, which always seemed to have some person who had 20 or so goals — Roberto Diaz, Joe LyBarger, Andy Banner or Scotty Ligouri.

“We had no double-digit scorers,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “The strength of our team was that it was difficult to score on us. Montrose, Evergreen, Summit (County) and (The Classical Academy) all found that out.”

Thus, we present to you first-team all-leaguers Eli Stephens, Tony Luevano and Andrew Herrera and honorable mentions, Creek Kamby and Erik Solis.

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Got backs?

The following is all-leaguer Eli Stephens’ statistical line:

(Insert tumbling tumbleweed.)

Yep, no goals and no assists, and that’s just fine. There was another pretty good center back which made all-league with no numbers — Evie Gonzalez, whom Cope would certainly put on his all-time Huskies 11.

Stephens continued in the tradition of the stout center back at Battle Mountain, started by Gonzalez in 2004. What’s more, Stephens had to deal with a revolving door with his fellow center back with this year’s four-defender set.

“Eli is the epitome of what can happen when you stick with the program,” Cope said. “He was on the C-team, the JV team and the varsity team, and he didn’t complain. He didn’t give up. He just got better.”

As the team’s primary center back, Stephens and the Huskies won 24 of the 39 games he started. Those are the most important numbers.

Senior Tony Luevano joins the first team as a right back, whom Cope called “a classic Battle Mountain back.”

“He’s not just a huge kid kicking the ball away,” the coach said. “He gets the ball and starts it forward.”

And just like his fellow all-leaguer Andrew Herrera, the outside backs at Battle Mountain have the license to go forward.

“In a lot of ways, Andrew was the soul of our team,” Cope said. “He developed relationships and kept the team positive and on task.”

Herrera had three goals and three assists from the left-back spot, but his highlight was likely scoring against TCA, the state runner-up.

Quite honorable

Kamby tied for the team lead with nine goals (David Ortiz) as a sophomore. What’s very interesting here is that Kamby scored at big times. He had equalizers against Montrose and Steamboat, and had a hat trick in 4-2 win at Delta and the winner against Evergreen, possibly the team’s biggest victory of the year.

“As a sophomore, he’s shown the potential to be a really great goal-scorer in this league,” Cope said. “His strength, his speed and his size could make for a bright next couple of years.

Joining Kamby as an honorable mention is Erik Solis, a defensive midfielder who got his job when another player went down with an injury. In the tradition of guys such as Connor Drumm and Hugh Wodlinger who were thrown into the fire in similar situations, Solis made the most of it.

“Being a sophomore starter in the playoffs is a great experience,” Cope said. “He’s an inspiration. He waited to get his chance and locked it down.”

The 4A Slope Coach of the Year is Summit’s Tommy Gogolen and the Player of the Year is the Tigers’ Thomas DeBonville.

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