Devils (No. 8) and Huskies (No. 16) open playoffs at home
EAGLE COUNTY ” It’s oh-so tempting, but don’t do it.
The thing a local soccer fan will do on the first glance of the 4A state-playoff bracket is see the possibility of a quarterfinal match between Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain.
CHSAA released the bracket Sunday afternoon and the Devils took the much-coveted eighth seed and will host No. 25 Evergreen Wednesday at a time to-be-determined.
The Huskies also got their wish of a first-round home game, drawing the 16th spot and No. 17 Longmont Wednesday at 3 p.m.
If Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain win those games and their second-rounders, yes, we’d have Devils-Huskies, Part III, in the quarterfinals on Oct. 29 in Gypsum.
But as the coaches of both teams, Jason Rittmiller and David Cope, pointed out Sunday, two rounds of playoff games might as well be a lifetime away.
“If you look far ahead, you lose track of what’s in front of you,” Rittmiller said.
“With these tournaments, you can’t look past the first round,” Cope said. “To me, the first round is always the most stressful. You’re trying to hold seed. You playing at home and you want to make a good impression in front of a big crowd. The first round is really an indicator of your season has gone.”
So please, no dreaming of a local donnybrook in the quarters just yet.
For Eagle Valley, Seeding Sunday was another first in a season of firsts. Instead of finding out what soccer power the Devils were playing, they were finding out how high they were ranked.
“I knew we were flirting with eight or nine,” Eagle Valley goalie Trevor Grayson said. “I was just hoping eight, because you get two rounds at home, so I was pretty relieved. But then to see Mullen in there, I’m ready for revenge.”
And Grayson brings up another reason not to advance immediately to Eagle Valley-Battle Mountain, Round 3.
First, there is 7-5-3 Evergreen on Wednesday. The winner of Wednesday’s game likely takes on No. 9 Mullen, which is not an average ninth seed.
The Mustangs are 9-4-2, finished fourth in the 5A Centennial League and played 14 of their 15 regular-season games against 5A schools. And as Grayson remembers well, the Mustangs eliminated the Devils from the first round of the playoffs two autumns ago.
Whatever the future holds, the eight seed was a nice nod of acknowledgment for what the Devils have accomplished so far ” a 12-2-1 record and the school’s first league title in soccer.
“It’s pretty much saying we have a good team and a lot of guys with a lot of talent,” Grayson said. “Eagle Valley soccer comes to play and we’re ready to go.”
Home by a hair
For Huskies fans steeped in history, No. 16 is not an unfamiliar draw.
“We’ve done this a few times before,” Cope joked.
Yep, that was Battle Mountain’s spot for three-straight years from 2002-04. While the Huskies were less than pleased with that number, especially in 2004, this time the reaction is good.
“The seniors were all wondering if (Thursday’s game against Eagle Valley) was our last game at Battle Mountain,” the Huskies’ Kalen Burnett said. “Now we know it wasn’t, even though that would have been a good game to end on.”
And again, before everyone starts drooling for third meeting of the Devils and Huskies, Battle Mountain has some serious work ahead of it.
Battle Mountain-Longmont on Wednesday is shaping up as one of the best first-round matches in the field. The survivor gets No. 1 Rock Canyon on Saturday.
“(Longmont has) a kid who’s scored 17 goals (Kevin Pocalyko). We have a kid who’s scored 17 goals (Davey DeChant),” Cope said. “We both have four losses. They have losses to good teams likes Fossil Ridge, Niwot, Broomfield and Silver Creek. I expect them to be physical team out of a physical league. That’s what we’d expect from someone from the Northern League.”
Just for kicks
The Slope regional got a nice nod from CHSAA seeding with four of its five teams (Devils, No. 8, Glenwood, No. 14, Montrose, No. 15 and Huskies No. 16) home for the first round. Only No. 23 Steamboat is on the road at Wheat Ridge. … There were only two quibbles with this year’s seeding. Summit County, which lost to Battle Mountain, Glenwood and Steamboat, ended up 11th. The Huskies also have a legitimate gripe being one spot behind Montrose, despite beating the Indians, 1-0, on the road.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
4A state playoffs
No. 8 Eagle Valley vs. No. 25 Evergreen, TBD
No. 16 Battle Mountain vs. No. 7 Longmont, 3 p.m.
No. 15 Montrose vs. No. 18 Cannon City
No. 14 Glenwood vs. No. 19 Alameda
No. 23 Steamboat at No. 10 Wheat Ridge
Games of note
No. 11 Summit County vs. No. 22 Castle View
No. 5 Cheyenne Mountain vs. No. 28 Pueblo West
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