Five and running for Huskies soccer |

Five and running for Huskies soccer

Ian Cropp
Shane Macomber/Vail DailyBattle Mountain's Chris Woodruff, left, gets checked by Rifle's Brycen Fauser in a match earlier this year.

EAGLE-VAIL – Nostradamus, your services are needed. For tonight’s second-round playoff matchup between No. 9 Battle Mountain, the 4A Western Slope soccer champions, and No. 8 Conifer, the Jeffco champs, one thing is for sure: There will be a winner.Who will emerge victorious? Well, that’s a question only 80 minutes, or more, can answer.”Like their coach said, it’s a tossup,” said Battle Mountain coach David Cope.Conifer coach Jason Frobose feels like it’s too close to call.”I think it’s going to be a very good match,” he said. By the numbers, both teams line up side by side.

“Look at their opponents and our opponents,” Cope said. “And we both won by four (goals) in the first round.”In its opening game this year, Battle Mountain tied Summit, 2-2. Midway through its season, Conifer played Summit to a 1-1 draw. The Huskies, 12-2-1 overall, beat Mountain Range, 5-1, Wednesday, while Conifer, 13-2, beat Windsor, 4-0, in the first round.Oh, and there isn’t a full home-field advantage for today’s match, which will be played at Lakewood Memorial Stadium at 5 p.m. (To get there, take Interstate 70 to U.S. Highway 6, east to Wadsworth Boulevard and then north to 10th Avenue.)”I told our boys that even though it’s in Lakewood, that’ll help us,” Cope said. “We’re not going to their hometown – it’s a neutral venue.”As Mountain Range saw when they played in Eagle-Vail in front of nearly the entire Battle Mountain student body, playing at home is a huge advantage in the playoffs.’Our championship’

For the fifth year in a row, the Huskies will be playing a second playoff game.”This group has been amazing,” Cope said. “They’ve now achieved the point that no matter what happens, it’s been a great year. But we consider (this) a bit of the state championship west of Denver.”The streak would be at six years had it not been for Conifer beating the Huskies in the first round in 2001.With all the similarities between the two teams, they play distinct brands of soccer.”We bring a different style than Battle Mountain may be used to,” Frobose said. “They play possession and control, which we do as well, but we don’t carry the ball as much. We are a quick team and like to string it out and play a finesse game rather than having four or five touches.”The Huskies will look to sit back a bit more defensively and try not to allow the Lobos’ forwards to sneak in behind the backline. And on offense, the Huskies will do what they’ve done well all year – get the ball wide and let the creative players make moves.Jose Pavon, who netted two goals Wednesday for Battle Mountain, has picked up four playoff goals in four games.

“He’s dangerous, and more dangerous in big games,” Cope said.While the Huskies have a good number of seniors in the lineup, the Lobos are very senior-heavy, with many of them returning from last year’s playoff squad.Before Battle Mountain heads to Lakewood, it will make a team trip to the University of Denver to watch the Pioneers play against Air Force and tour the campus. Kyle Moore, who played on last year’s Huskies squad that lost in the quarterfinals, plays for the University of Denver.”It’s gotta be a motivating thing to see that level of fight and battle,” Cope said. “It’ll be a fun day.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or, Colorado

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