Huskies go for No. 5 and more
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado For a team which went 13-2-1, won its fourth-straight league title and advanced to the Sweet 16 in the 4A state playoffs for fourth consecutive autumn, the Battle Mountain boys soccer is not exactly a contented bunch.Battle Mountain expects to be in the field when the playoff bracket comes out Oct. 19. Yes, this set of Huskies wants a league-championship hoody to call its own. But thats been done.As Battle Mountain opens the season Tuesday at home against Summit County, the team has bigger fish to fry.As a senior, youre just looking for another championship sweatshirt, striker Davy DeChant said. I want four in my career, which would be great. Every year weve had success, but we want to go further, make the (state) semis if we can.This is a different kind of talk coming out of Eagle-Vail, but then again, this is definitely a different type of team and likely a different season than in years past.Traditionally an offensive powerhouse, the Huskies will score goals, but defense and goaltending are the headliners in Eagle-Vail. Of all places, the midfield is not as experienced as in past campaigns. And in a concept very new to David Cope-coached teams, the junior class is expected to lead the way. I think every year presents its own challenge, Cope said. We havent talked about specific goals. The thing you think back to is the last game we played, and that was the loss to Golden (in the state playoffs). We think about our league as an immediate goal, but we also think about Golden.We failed at Golden in the last seven minutes, Huskies senior Marco Orduno said. We have to train that much harder so that we can keep the lead and go through. Were trying to push ourselves harder.For the record, the farthest the Huskies have gone in the postseason is the state quarterfinals in 2005 and 2006.DefenseUsually, the preseason chatter on the pitch is how Cope and assistant coach Kyle Mercer are going to scramble to put together the backline. Not in 2008.Not since the defensive crew of Harrison Brown, Connor Drumm and Everado Gonzales in 2004, the first of the teams four titles, have the Huskies been so strong on defense. With Connor Tedstrom, David Gonzales, Hugo Parra, Kalen Burnett and Tyler Madison, the Huskies would be just fine here. Toss in Marco Orduno, Cody Hervert, and Jack Sunderland, all midfielders who will flip back on defense, and this unit is very deep.If we play with three in the back, there are two lines of good players, Cope said. Theres a lot of experienced players and good athletes. Thats a good situation to be in because you know what they say about defense and championships.Tedstrom is the big name here, and justifiably so. When Tony Seibert went down with an injury in 2006, Tedstrom, then a freshman, jumped in and has been a rock ever since. Going into his junior season, hes already played in five soccer playoff games, not to mention copious postseason experiences in hockey and track.He should have a great season. Hes a superb athlete, and now hes got two years of playoff experience and a regular season under his belt, Cope said. The thing we have to teach Connor is restraint. You cant save the world in one play. You cant go all over the field doing things. He has to play within himself.An unsung character in this crew is Orduno. Now a senior, he typically draws the assignment of shutting down the opposing teams best offensive threat. It is a role in which he has excelled. Orduno will doubtless get the call Sept. 9 and Oct. 16 when the Huskies meet up with Cesar Castillo and Eagle Valley.Good goaltending doesnt hurt either. Clint Hervert started as a sophomore last season and exceeded expectations. Combined with Roberto Herrrera, the Huskies are in great shape in net.Up frontDeChant and Leopoldo Rodriguez will start the season as strikers with Jair Molina and Ramon Bonilla to join them after the first three games of the year due to eligibility issues. With Jack Sunderland and Brian Morales also likely to see time in the offensive end, the Huskies should be traditionally strong.Since the Huskies have had such players as Kyle Moore and Tyler Cole, just to name two, its somewhat surprising to see a Battle Mountain squad which is not as tested in the midfield.This unit has talent in Sunderland, Patrick Baskins, Sergio Sifuentes, Brian Morales and Efren Gonzalez. Sunderlands had a good preseason; Morales has been the pleasant surprise of camp and Gonzalez made the varsity squad as a freshman, which is saying something, given Copes preference for upperclassmen.Look for the defense to help the midfield out early as the unit gets its legs.Old and new rivalsIn a fitting development for a defensively-oriented Battle Mountain soccer team its strange to type the path to another title will likely have a new obstacle. The Huskies renew acquaintances with their traditional foe Steamboat Springs Sept. 30 (home) and Oct. 9 (road). There is always the trip to Glenwood Springs, where anything can and probably will happen, Sept. 16.But circle your calendars now for Oct. 16 in Eagle-Vail. Eagle Valley comes calling in the regular-season finale, and this game could have title implications. The Devils finished the regular season in 2007 with a 6-0-2 mark. Battle Mountain squeaked by Eagle Valley, 1-0, on a late goal by Brian Daino in the first meeting between the two teams. In the rematch, Eagle Valley got a 1-1 tie.It should be a game of consequence, Cope said. It will be great. Our only blemish in the league last year was that draw. Its going to be good.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.