Devils-Huskies: It still maters
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Admittedly, today’s meeting between Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain soccer at 3 p.m. ” please note the time change ” in Eagle-Vail is no longer “The Biggest Game in the History of Everything,” but that doesn’t mean Round 2 doesn’t have a lot of intrigue.
After all, the former champs of the Slope are hosting the current champs. That sentence in itself just got some people’s blood boiling, so here are some things for which to look when the Huskies host the Devils:
The 1999 factor
It would be interesting for Eagle Valley to win the league, but still not beat Battle Mountain which would be the case if the Huskies win today. (Battle Mountain won the first meeting between the two teams in overtime, 2-1, last month.
Let’s rephrase ” Battle Mountain would find it extremely interesting if Eagle Valley won the league without beating the Huskies. Certainly, the camp in Eagle-Vail will be using that as motivation today.
Let there be no doubt that the Devils are the best of the Slope. They will get a plaque attesting to that fact, and hopefully, add to the program’s banner in the gym down in Gypsum. But there is no doubt that players on the Battle Mountain side of things will always remember that in 2008 the Devils won the title, but never beat the Huskies.
This, of course, does serve as motivation for Eagle Valley. The Devils haven’t beaten the Huskies since 1999 when Ryan Dee led Eagle Valley to second round of the 3A state playoffs before losing to No. 1 Colorado Academy.
Great Cesar’s ghost
And since Eagle Valley hasn’t defeated Battle Mountain since 1999, we know that the Huskies are the one mountain that soon-to-be, back-to-back Slope Player of the Year Cesar Castillo hasn’t climbed yet.
Castillo has scored a whopping 100 goals in his four years at Eagle Valley. He’s helped to elevate the Devils from also-rans to league champs. He likely will help Eagle Valley advance in the postseason for the first time since moving to 4A.
But he’s 0-6-1 against Battle Mountain.
Make no mistake ” that is a point of pride for Battle Mountain. Huskies coach David Cope is from The School of No Bulletin Board Material, and his team obliges.
However, it’s the world’s worst-kept secret that the Huskies don’t like the fact that Castillo gets to continue to play in games that are blowouts and add to his numbers, whereas by Battle Mountain custom, Battle Mountain players are done after a hat trick.
In Castillo’s defense, this is merely jealousy on the part of Huskies-dom. Castillo has 12 goals in six games against Battle Mountain, Glenwood Springs, Golden and Steamboat Springs this season, proving beyond a doubt that he’s a great player no matter the opponent.
But … you know that the Huskies want to be able to say that Castillo never beat them, and Castillo wouldn’t mind dropping a few on Battle Mountain in his last regular-season game.
(Trivia time: Who are the two Huskies who have scored four goals in a game under Cope’s tenure? Please e-mail the answers to firstname.lastname@example.org. No Copes are eligible for the T-shirt.)
As for the Huskies …
This is an extremely important game because Battle Mountain has simply not been itself of late and this is no way to go into the playoffs.
A loss at Steamboat Springs, I understand. A loss at home to Glenwood? Nope. And certainly not after having a 2-0 lead. And down 2-0 at Rifle before winning 4-2? Yikes.
Losing three of your last four ” if Battle Mountain loses today ” generally means a quick exit from the tournament.
Cope often says the season is divided into three parts. September is the time when you develop your talent. October is the time when you deal with adversity and November is the time to get lucky. On the second count, the Huskies aren’t looking too good right now.
Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain qualified for the playoffs sometime in September. The question is now all about bracketology. (When did that become a word?)
The Devils are ranked ninth in the “Rocky Mountain News,” which is not binding when it comes to Seeding Sunday, but it’s helpful to have your name in the mix. The top team in the Slope region ” including Montrose ” has traditionally been somewhere between Nos. 6-8, and that tradition should really hold this year.
The Slope is a much stronger league than in years past, and its play against other leagues bears that out. Battle Mountain, Glenwood and Steamboat all have beaten Summit County, the Jeffco’s top team.
Eagle Valley thrashed Golden, 3-0, a regular in the postseason. Steamboat beat Centaurus, another Jeffco squad. Glenwood ripped Basalt, a traditional 3A power, and Battle Mountain beat Montrose on the road.
If the Devils win today, they should be ranked eighth or better, a critical cut line, given that you’re home for the first two rounds of the playoffs. If the Devils lose, they probably drop to around No. 10, which means hitting the road for Round 2.
Battle Mountain needs this one badly to move into the third spot in the region, and maybe stay home for the first playoff game as a No. 15 or 16. If the Huskies finish by losing three of their last four, they’re looking at a seeding in the 20s. That’s not a good thing. Just ask Eagle Valley which was No. 25 last year.
Are you kidding?
I want to live, so it’s a 2-2 tie with Castillo and David Shea for the Devils and Jair Molina and Sergio Sifuentes for the Huskies.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.
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