Huskies advance to face Steamboat Springs
The playoffs continue
Vail Mountain School vs. Clear Creek, 3:45 p.m.
Battle Mountain vs. Alexander Dawson, 4:30 p.m.
Battle Mountain vs. Steamboat Springs, TBD
EDWARDS — Well, hello, again.
Battle Mountain girls soccer took care of business, taking down Skyview, 4-1, in the first round of the state playoffs on Wednesday. Meanwhile, out west, No. 20 Steamboat Springs pulled the 2-0 upset at No. 13 Montrose.
And so for your second-round playoff entertainment on Saturday, it’ll be Battle Mountain-Steamboat Springs, the postseason edition.
“I’m really excited. They’re our biggest rival,” said senior midfielder Acacia Ortiz, who had the Huskies’ third goal. “They’re excited for us. We can definitely use it as a chance to prove ourselves.”
Not only is it the first time that the Huskies and Sailors have met up in the postseason — last year’s league title game was the 15th game of the regular season — but the Battle Mountain girls are trying to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time in the school’s history.
“It’s really exciting,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “We know now a Western Slope team will be in the final eight. I’m happy it will be one of our teams. I think our team knows it has to be at its very best on Saturday. We have a lot at stake.”
Half full or half empty?
The first half for Battle Mountain was everything one would expect of a fourth seed against No. 29. The Huskies controlled all 40 minutes, racked up two goals in eight minutes and were cruising, 4-0, at the half.
“The first half, we moved the ball together really well,” Ortiz said. “Morgan’s pass to Molly was absolutely incredible, and it’s what our team is all about.”
Morgan would be Morgan Croke, who took it down the right side and found a streaking Molly Phannenstiel for the finish.
Croke got in on the scoring side of things just minutes later with a boomer from outside the box. After Logan Nash got her perfunctory score, Ortiz launched a shot from the left side that hit the right panel.
“That was an awesome shot,” Croke said. “I was watching from the sideline. It was pretty textbook.”
The issue is the intensity didn’t carry over to the second half.
“Whatever the coach said at halftime didn’t work,” Cope said somewhat jokingly.
Skyview’s Andrea Lucero scored in the 46th and the visiting Wolverines won the second half.
“I think we’re going to be able to go back and watch the film and see where we would have improved,” Croke said. “I think it will almost fuel our fire. I think we’re all a little bit disappointed and want to bounce back from that.”
Whatever critique will follow from the second half, the Huskies accomplished the goal of any playoff game — survive and advance. If any form of history might apply here, the worst game the 2012 boys’ team played in the postseason was the opener. (This year’s ladies certainly hope that this is the case as the gents won the whole thing that fall.)
However one views it, Steamboat’s coming to town for the third meeting of the season.
The Huskies won the first two — a 2-1 overtime thriller with Nash getting the golden goal in Edwards and a 4-2 victory up north a week later.
“We know them and they know us very well,” Cope said. “It’s going to be a huge, huge rivalry and competitive fixture. They’re going to be ready and we’re going to be ready.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.