Huskies beat Devils; eye Summit
GYPSUM – The stage is set nicely for Battle Mountain soccer at the rough halfway point of the regular season.After dispatching Eagle Valley, 7-0, Thursday night at Hot Stuff Stadium in Gypsum, the Huskies (7-0 overall and 5-0 in the 4A Slope) are gearing up for Summit County (4-0 so far in its maiden voyage in the conference) Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in Edwards in a showdown of league unbeatens.”If you haven’t seen this team yet, Tuesday night is going to be a battle,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “This could be a special group that people might be talking about for a long time.”Battle Mountain is already moving into some good company. At 7-0, the 2012 Huskies are only the second boys team under Cope’s watch of 20 years to be undefeated this late in the season. The 2005 Huskies, likely the gold standard of the program, made it to 14-0 before losing to … wait for it … Summit County, then a nonconference opponent.”It should be a great game,” Battle Mountain center-back Will Nolan said. “Summit’s a rival. Saturday morning, we’ve got practice, and we’ll be ready Tuesday.”Nolan’s return to the lineup from the flu figures to loom large for Tuesday’s game and was likely an overlooked aspect of Thursday’s win.”Will steadies the ship,” Cope said. “He also allows Roberto (Diaz) to play forward, and he scored today, which is cool.”In theory, the Huskies put Nolan and Erick Briones, still down with a hamstring injury but expected back for Summit on Tuesday, in the middle of their back line. Gunnar Wilson, who started the scoring Thursday night with a thundering strike from 30 yards, is on the right side with Brandon Orsorio on the left. That moves Diaz up to midfield in the regular configuration.The good news for Battle Mountain is that wherever everyone was, the scoring still started out of the back. After Wilson gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead, Battle Mountain goalie Christian Espinoza started his team’s next score with a long through-ball to Joe LyBarger on the other end of the pitch. Eagle Valley goalie Brandon Cano made a nice stop on LyBarger, but the rebound went straight to Heivan Garcia, who had an open net. Diaz from Alex Trujillo and Broby Leeds to LyBarger started the second half and pretty much ended the competitive portion of the game. David Suarez and Umberto Ricci also scored in the second half, but Huskies senior Chris Shea had what will be the most-talked about goal. As a freshman, Shea played for Eagle Valley before transferring to Battle Mountain. His rocket shot in the 62nd minute was his first against his former mates.”We love going to an away game and getting a few good goals,” Nolan said. “Nobody scored two, right? We divided it up among the team. You can’t do it any better than that.”Nolan was right – seven goals from seven different players, and that always gets noted by Cope postgame.”I thought that Eagle Valley were very organized and competitive for the first 30 minutes, and then we scored some sensational goals,” the coach said. “Chris Shea was a nice capper.”For Eagle Valley (2-5, 2-4), it was a tough pill to swallow.”We fought,” Devils coach Bratzo Horruitiner said. “… We don’t quit. Quit is a big word, and we don’t use it. I’m proud of the guys.”Eagle Valley is at Delta on Saturday at 6 p.m. The Devils will be without the services of David Ortiz, who was booked with two yellow cards. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.