Eagle Valley soccer pushes win streak to three ahead of rematch with Battle Mountain
Devils drop Frontier Academy at home Saturday, while Huskies draw with 5A Denver East
It’s a lot easier winning games when you hold the opposition scoreless. That’s been the case for Eagle Valley’s varsity soccer team during its current three-game win streak.
All three of the Devils’ wins came in conditions that felt like different seasons.
There was a sunny summer vibe for a 1-0 overtime win over Vail Mountain School on Sept. 23, followed by a 3-0 rout at Summit in frigid conditions Wednesday, followed by Saturday’s win against Frontier Academy at home in crisp fall weather.
Just like the win over Summit, the Devils’ Denilson Sandoval struck early to put the opposition in a hole. Denilson knocked home a penalty kick to give Eagle Valley the early lead, which proved critical in the second half when the Devils went a man down after Keegan Chalberg was issued a red card.
Captain Roman Turner set up Eagle Valley’s insurance goal late in the game when he launched a free kick into the box that a Frontier player knocked into his own goal.
“It was hard to play without Keegan, but we fought hard till the end,” Turner said.
With Saturday’s win, the Devils improved to 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the 4A Western Slope. Eagle Valley will look to avenge its only league loss this season when it faces rival Battle Mountain Thursday night under the lights in Edwards.
Huskies draw with 5A Denver East, 1-1
Battle Mountain varsity soccer coach Dave Cope can’t remember the last time his team, a perennial contender in 4A, went three games without a win.
But after drawing with 5A Denver East at home on Saturday, 1-1, Cope said he’s not the least bit worried about being 5-4-1 through 10 games.
Context, of course, is necessary. The Huskies lost a heartbreaker at home on Sept. 25 to an Atlas Prep team that should be in the mix for a title in 3A. Battle Mountain then lost a tough road test, 4-3, at rival Steamboat Springs on Thursday. And on Saturday, against the 5A Angels, the Huskies led for most of the game before giving up a late goal that forced overtime, with neither team finding the net in the extra period.
Two close one-goal losses and a tie against three quality teams is no reason to hit the panic button, Cope said.
“This is why we put this schedule together — to try to test ourselves,” Cope said. “The results haven’t necessarily been what we wanted, but within all three games there have been elements of our performance that have been really good.”
On Saturday night at home, goalie Cruz Ramirez came up huge for the Huskies in the first half, gobbling up a low blast on the left side of the net and also punching away a corner kick.
The Huskies had a great scoring opportunity when Leo Soto connected on a blast off a corner kick that looked like it was going in before the Angels’ goalie parried it out of bounds.
About 18 minutes into the second half, Huskies senior midfielder Bryant Ramirez finally broke the scoreless tie when he sent a laser through a crowded box into the lower right corner of the Denver East net from about 25 yards out.
The Huskies had some other good opportunities to get an insurance goal but couldn’t score again. And they couldn’t preserve the win, giving up a goal with about three minutes to go that forced the overtime period before the game ended in the 1-1 draw.
“It’s not a bad result, really, for either one of us,” Cope said. “Both teams could have won and both teams could have lost. A draw was probably a fair result. That’s been a hallmark of this team — is that we can’t get a second goal. That’s probably why we’ve been in so many close games.”
After three tough games, the Huskies get another one Thursday when they face a red-hot Eagle Valley team that played them close in a 3-2 Huskies win earlier this season.
If that isn’t enough of a sell, it’s also the Huskies’ homecoming game.
“Both teams are in playoff contention, and the game got really heated last time,” Cope said. “We’re hoping for a good crowd.”