Huskies bury Sand Creek, 7-1
EDWARDS – On to Evergreen.
We should have anticipated this, really. When it comes to Battle Mountain soccer, the road seems eventually to lead to Evergreen.
The Cougars ended the Huskies’ season in the first round of the playoffs in 2009 and in the second round in 2010. And after a resounding 7-1 thumping of Sand Creek Saturday in Edwards during the second round of the 2011 state playoffs, who should await on Tuesday in the state quarterfinals but the aforementioned Cougars in Evergreen. (Time to be determined.)
But before the Huskies get themselves into a lather – which is inevitable, given the history – a moment to pause on what Battle Mountain has just accomplished. The 2011 Huskies (14-1-2) are just the third Battle Mountain soccer team to make the 4A quarterfinals.
“This team just put themselves up with the best teams we’ve ever had,” said Huskies coach David Cope, who’s led the team since 1993. “You have to win the league to be in that group. That’s the first marker. You have to win a playoff game. And then you advance to the quarterfinals. There’s only three.”
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The two others are the 2005 and 2006 editions of Battle Mountain soccer with the former likely being the school’s best. That said, this year’s crew is starting to make a compelling case.
Saturday’s game was a clinic. Only a late penalty kick from Sand Creek’s Dakota Conklin broke up the shutout. Battle Mountain delivered the knockout blow with three goals during an 20-minute span of the first half, poured in four more in the second half and really could have had more.
“It’s a great feeling to finally break – I don’t know what,” the Huskies’ Heivan Garcia said, while using his hands to form what might have been some mythical force field which has prevented the Huskies from advancing in the playoffs in years past.
Alex Trujillo had the assists on the Huskies’ first two goals, the first to Joe LyBarger and the second to Nick Vossler. Brandon Osorio to Diego Rodriguez made it, 3-0.
Ze Barbosa and Sean Armitage found the back of the net in the second half, while Garcia had two eye-popping goals, a style which is becoming his calling card.
“It’s something from a different planet,” joked Sean Armitage of Garcia’s boots.
“His second goal, it came out of the air,” Vossler said. “I gave him a terrible ball. He’s just still, ‘Oh, whatever, I’ll still hit it 1,000 mph. No big deal.'”
Garcia was a little sheepish about these descriptions and said all the right things about good feeds and the teamwork involved when he or anyone scores. Yet there was no denying the Huskies were on their game.
“I’m so proud of these guys,” Cope said. “I thought we showed so much composure on the ball, so much energy defensively. I thought in every facet of the game we played well. We’re peaking at the right time of the year.”
And now, here comes Evergreen, 4-1 winners Saturday over Durango. The Cougars are 15-2 and seeded No. 2 in the tournament. The calendar will turn into November Tuesday, when only a few schools around the state are still playing soccer, and the Huskies doubtless would like to make a statement.
“We’ve been eliminated two years in row by Evergreen,” Cope said. “The game got out of hand a little bit score-wise two years ago. I thought we went down there last year and gave a good account of ourselves. We were very competitive through the whole match. But we feel like that trajectory is a nice one from 7-2 to 2-0 to maybe this time.”
“We just have to stay focused, play our game, play the way we have been playing and the best team is going to win,” Garcia said.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.