For Huskies, 1st 5 and last 5 equals 1st place
EDWARDS — First five, last five.
That’s a Cope-ism — scores in the first five minutes and the last five minutes of halves and preventing them are a key to any soccer game. While the Battle Mountain soccer coach didn’t invent one of the sport’s axioms, it was on display in a 2-1 nonconference win against Montrose on Tuesday.
The Huskies scored two minutes into the first half and with two minutes left in the frame.
“Good win,” Cope said. “Anytime you score early, it gives the whole team a lift. Montrose is a good team and they were playing their way back into it when Juan scored a beautiful goal near halftime.”
The Huskies jumped on the visiting Indians (4-6) with a familiar refrain of Cody Bahan to Miles Joersz. Bahan’s cross went into the box and Joersz, who played in the state golf tournament in Carbondale earlier in the day, got a foot on it to direct the ball into the left side of the net.
The Huskies have a three-way tie for the lead in goals on the team at five with Bahan, Joersz and Juan Macias. The latter had a breakaway in the 38th minute and slammed his shot home to the right side.
“Great pass by Danny,” Macias said.
That Danny would be Barajas. One has to keep the Daniels straight on this team, because Daniel Ortega is part of a resurgent defense that seems to have righted the ship since a loss to The Classical Academy. After giving up six goals to the Titans, Ortega, Taylor Staughton, Joersz and Tony Velsco, along with goalie Alan Villegas have a clean sheet.
“We are more organized,” Staughton said. “We’re talking more, communicating better. That was a turning point for us.”
The Slope is shuffling
Cope has been coaching the Huskies boys soccer team for 24 seasons now, and one of the common themes of his tenure has been mass substitution. It’s a damned-if you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation. Occasionally, the coach has pulled his starters too early.
Tuesday was likely one of those days as Montrose’s Jorge Herrera scored after the Huskies reserves were in, causing some tense moments.
“One of the reasons we’ve been successful over the years is getting the younger guys playing time,” Cope said. “You can try to simulate it in practice, but nothing matches the experience of a varsity game. The young kids did well today. It’s unfortunate Montrose scored, but it was a heck of a shot.”
And the Huskies held on for the win, so all’s well that ends well.
In the meantime, Battle Mountain took sole possession of first place as Summit County nipped Eagle Valley, 3-2, on Tuesday. The Huskies are 5-1 with Summit at 3-1. The Huskies won the first encounter between the two teams, 4-3, and hold the tiebreaker. Both Steamboat (5-2) and Eagle Valley (4-2) are one game back in the loss column.
The Huskies head to Palisade on Thursday, but there’s no taking the Bulldogs lightly.
“We have to approach every game as if we were playing TCA,” Staughton said.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.