Evergreen ends Battle Mountain’s playoff run
EDWARDS, Colorado – The Battle Mountain High School soccer team hadn’t given up more than one goal in a game all year.
That’s why senior forward Ubaldo Trujillo felt pretty good when he tallied the Huskies’ second first-half goal in Tuesday evening’s state playoff game against Evergreen, Colorado, giving the Huskies a 2-1 lead. But the Cougars apparently didn’t know about the one-goal rule. The visitors put the ball into the back of the net twice more in the first half and kept up the barrage in the second half to take a 7-2 playoff win back across the Continental Divide.
The Cougars came out hot after the break, tallying three goals in less than 10 minutes.
Huskies senior goalkeeper Clint Hervert was beaten more than he’d been in ages, and he and the rest of the team were just a little too late to the ball over the course of the game.
“We just had a defensive meltdown,” Hervert said. “It came down to defense, and we couldn’t step up.”
The Huskies survived an early Evergreen rush in the game’s opening moments, but the first half was more than half over before the Cougars put the ball in the net to open the scoring.
Moments later, senior defender Connor Tedstrom tied the game. Trujillo knocked in his goal just a few minutes after that.
But Evergreen tied the game with 14 minutes left in the first half, and the Cougars’ third goal – a breakaway – found the back of the net 11 minutes before the break.
Trujillo said the snow might have affected the Huskies’ ball control a little, but he acknowleged that the Cougars were playing in the same conditions.
“Everyone thought we were going to win tonight,” Trujillo said. “After the second goal, we thought that was going to be it.”
Despite the early exit from the playoffs, Huskies coach David Cope said he was proud of his team.
“We have a great group of seniors this year,” Cope said. “We played 16 games and lost two.” The team finished 10-2-4 on the season and lost the Western Slope League title on the last day of the regular season after playing Eagle Valley to a scoreless draw last week.
Cope said the team took some risks in the second half to get back in the game, allowing Evergreen some easy-looking goals on the counterattack.
Hervert, who hopes to take his game to college next year, took the loss hard.
“This is the best team I can ever remember being part of,” Hervert said. “I think we kind of underachieved this year.”
And the reality of a seven-goal night for a netminder who had been so stingy for so long was simply “unthinkable,” he said.
After Evergreen’s early second-half torrent, the Huskies’ younger players started trickling into the game and played well, Cope said.
After the game, Cope spent a long time talking to his juniors, next year’s seniors. He was still talking to them as the seniors started to trickle out of the locker room toward family and friends waiting outside. The group leaving Tuesday night set a high standard for those still coming up.