Get your slingshots, part II
EAGLE-VAIL – McFly, get the space-flux capacitor.
It’s Back to the Future, Part II, in Eagle-Vail. When last we joined Battle Mountain soccer in the state playoffs in 2002, the Huskies were the 16th seed facing No. 1 Broomfield.
Flash-forward to 2003 – The Huskies are No. 16 and they’ve drawn the No. 1-seed – this time it’s Liberty Thursday at 6 p.m., at District 20 Stadium in Colorado Springs.
“Sixteen plays one. It’s good,” Cope said. “It’s a tribute to the guys for getting to this level. If you look at the records of the teams, we’re the only one with six losses. So, it’s not unfair. But, there’s three or four other teams there like us with 10 wins. That’s a deep bracket when you have 16 teams all with 10 wins or more.”
But before you just write Liberty into round two on your bracket, consider the following:
n This is a team which started 1-2 at the Alexander Dawson Tournament, capped by a ghastly 10-1 loss to Niwot. The Huskies finished an impressive 10-6. By the way, if the Huskies pull the upset against the Lancers, they likely face No. 8 Niwot. Interesting juju, no?
n This is a team which is on a roll. When the Huskies need four points in their last three games to make the postseason, they got nine, including a momentous win over Steamboat Springs.
n This is a team which can overcome adversity. The Huskies lost their coach last week in a state-seeding game, and promptly beat the daylights out of Canon City, 5-1.
n This is a team that’s been in this situation before. Battle Mountain did fall to Broomfield, 3-0, last year, but the Huskies were competitive.
“The thing they saw was, “Yeah, they’re No. 1, but they weren’t from a different planet,'” Cope said. “The game was pretty close throughout most of it. They scored a third goal late. Those guys, if they went in intimidated last year, this year, they should go in thinking they’re just high-school players.”
“I’m really excited. It’s going to be a great game, we hope,” Harrison Brown said. “We’re playing against one of their best goalies. We’ve heard a lot of good stuff about their team. We’ve just got to raise our standards.”
That goalie would be Conrad Taylor, who is on the Region 4 Team, which makes him one of the best goalies in his age group in the Western United States.
“He’s very good. He’s been all-state twice. He’s been a state champion. He’s an all-american,” Cope said. “Having said that, in this game, in this sport, sometimes, there are goals goalkeepers can’t do anything about. We’ve scored some goals like that this year. It’s not like a Patrick Roy setting where the goal’s so small. You can score goals like a PK.
“What a thrill it would be if this kid is one day in the MLS or on the national team and you were looking back, saying, “I scored a goal on him in high school,’ or “I knocked his high school team out of the playoffs.'”
Led by Taylor, the Lancers finished 14-1-1 overall and 6-0-1 in the Colorado Springs Metro Conference. Liberty’s lone loss came to Air Academy, 3-0, and the tie was against Widefield (0-0).
Mason Bragg leads the Lancers with 15 goals and 11 assists, while Joel Trainer is another big threat with 15 goals and 10 assists.
But the Huskies aren’t daunted. They’re excited about the challenge.
Just ask sweeper Connor Drumm about Liberty.
“Expect the unexpected and think about what it would be like to upset them,” he said.
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.