Evergreen edges Huskies, 1-0, as playoffs loom
EDWARDS — That was playoff soccer, but the good news is that it wasn’t the playoffs.
In a postseason tuneup for both teams, No. 3-ranked Evergreen edged No. 8. Battle Mountain, 1-0, on a superb goal in the 38th minute from the Cougars’ Cassidy Formanek.
As is often the case with two top-tier teams, one sequence can make the difference as the calendar turns to May. It did on Thursday night.
In a twist of irony, Evergreen used a short corner kick by Kylee Petrik to Sophia Weiner to start the play. Weiner struck a beautiful cross and Formanek buried it for the sole tally of the game.
“Well, we’ve had a lot of 1-0 wins. I wish we’d not have so many nail-biters,” Evergreen coach Peter Jeans said. “But this was a close game, and to get a finish like that shows quality.”
Huskies coach David Cope, at the time, did not think that the Cougars should have gotten the corner quick, arguing that Evergreen had touched it last. But, after the game, he repeated his oft-said mantra, “If you want to win a soccer game, you have to score goals.”
Evergreen, which held the No. 1 spot in the CHSAA poll until a 1-0 loss to new No. 1 Valor Christian last week, did get the better of the play, yet it was clear that Battle Mountain was not out of its depth.
“The better team won, but I would say that we asked them some questions and gave them something to think about,” Cope said. “Neither team was able to score a goal off the run of play.”
Both teams entered wanting to get a taste of playoff soccer before the first round starts on Wednesday.
“I thought they were comparable to the best teams we played all year,” said Jeans of the Huskies. “They deserve a good look as a high seed and are going to be a difficult team for somebody to beat. I would really expect to see them as a high seed in the tournament.”
Let the Seeding Begin
And, thus, the jockeying for seeding begins. Evergreen finishes 14-1 and as Jeffco League champ. Jeans believes that the Jeffco is the best circuit in 4A, and the CHSAA rankings bear that out with Valor No. 1, Evergreen third, Wheat Ridge sixth and Littleton ninth.
As always, the rankings are nonbinding when the seeding committee meets on Sunday to issue the bracket on chsaa.org.
Cope said that his Huskies should be No. 5.
“We dropped a game (against Silver Creek), but we showed some resilience and I’m glad to see us come back twice in the Glenwood game,” he said. “We ran our league. I think we proved tonight, at the tail end of the season when the games really matter, that we’re in that top group of teams.”
Regardless of seed, Battle Mountain goalie Nicole Lasater, who had a strong game, thinks her squad is ready to go.
“I was nervous before the game, but I think we really held our own against them. I think we connected the ball well and moved it around a lot,” the junior said. “I think it keeps you focused. It’s good to take a breath and say this is what we need to do.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.