Huskies booters overcome Palisade
EAGLE-VAIL – Midway through the second half Thursday, with his team up 2-1 against Palisade, Battle Mountain striker Andy Banner had a golden opportunity – an open net.
“I don’t know,” the junior said. “I kind of tried to hit it with the inside of my foot, but it bounced kind of weird. I missed it.
The good news?
“It’s all right, though. I made it up a little later,” Banner added.
That’s because he didn’t miss again. The visiting Bulldogs erased a 2-0 Huskies lead in the second half, but Banner ripped the back of the net twice – as a part of a hat trick – for a 4-2 Battle Mountain win.
“He’s growing up. If he’s going to become a big part of this team this year, which I think he can, he’s going to have to accept disappointment, especially playing striker,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “If you miss eight chances and score twice, you’re a hero. So you have to be able accept misses, bad calls, fouls and all that comes with that and I think, in the second half, he did that real well.”
All the Huskies seemed to respond well, particularly in the second half. After leading 2-0 and seeing that lead disappear, doubt could have crept into the minds of the Huskies, especially coming off a similar scenario against Niwot last weekend at the Alexander Dawson Tournament.
“Against Niwot, when things went sour, they really went south quickly,” Cope said. “Today, when things went sour, they pulled together and unified. When you go from 2-0 to 2-2, after suffering a heavy loss, there could be a lot of doubting. sniping at each other and looking at each other. And they didn’t. Whether it was going to be overtime or it was going to be during regular time, they were going to get it done.”
That would be in regular time – and, at first, it looked like it was going to be easy. Battle Mountain peppered the net in the first half, but came away scoreless.
“That’s the one thing we said to them at halftime was, “You know what, you guys, the tactics are working. We missed four open nets,” Cope said. “”Don’t feel bad about it. Let’s feel good about it. We’re all over these guys. We’re creating chances and we’re playing well.'”
Juan Barragon was the first to convert with a laser shot from 35 yards out, which gave Battle Mountain a 1-0 lead.
“He was really stabilizing our midfield and holding things together,” Cope said. “So it was a nice reward for him because he was doing a lot of the dirty work in this game – winning balls, getting passes, winning 50-50s, winning tackles. Then, for him, to look up, see the keeper off his line and shoot. That’s great.”
Banner got his first just minutes afterward, when he got a rebound in the box, and slammed it home – 20, Battle Mountain. But, then, the storm hit. Palisade’s Gabrielle Jaramillo scored twice – and with Banner’s miss – the Huskies seemed to be reeling.
But, unlike last weekend, the Huskies responded with gusto. Julio Garcia hooked up with Banner on a corner kick. And just in the waning seconds of the game, Banner iced the game with a nice breakaway from Kyle Moore.
The win helps Battle Mountain (2-2 overall) open its 4A Slope schedule with three, valuable points. Battle Mountain is next in action in Eagle-Vail against Moffat County Thursday at 4 p.m.
Chris Freud is the sports editor of the Vail Daily. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or via email@example.com
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