Huskies have familiar faces on all-league team
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Back-to-back was the theme for postseason awards for Battle Mountain soccer.
Davey DeChant and Connor Tedstrom (first-selections) and Jair Molina (honorable mention) got nods for the second year in a row and they made way for David Gonzalez, who etched his name on the honor role for the first time.
“I kind of expected it based on last year, when I didn’t expect it,” DeChant said. “I well out-performed my stats from last year, so it feels good. It shows that I meant something to my team and made an impression on opposing coaches.”
“It’s different because I’m a junior,” Tedstrom said. “I’m more of a leader on the team, but it was a little unexpected.”
Both DeChant and Tedstrom were already trusted veterans for coach David Cope, but both had different challenges in 2008.
DeChant had a knack for the net, but he struggled in fitness in 2007.
“I was around 30th on the team in juggling and 300-yard sprints,” DeChant said. “I thought, ‘Maybe, I’ll work on that.'”
That he did. DeChant practiced all summer with juggling, getting up to a personal record of 400-plus touches with the ball before it hit the ground. And then there was a lot of running.
That resulted in 17 goals, a team and career-high, as well as a new aspect of his game, assisting on scores (nine). As the season developed, DeChant and Jair Molina became a potent combo.
“I though the two them just created goals for each other,” Cope said. “It’s a good message for our school ” two kids coming from different backgrounds to create for each other.”
DeChant also became a more confident player in 2008. Strikers have to have an almost-arrogant mentality to keep shooting to break through for the critical goal. Though DeChant is the model of decorum when playing on the pitch or speaking off it, he started scoring early in the season and didn’t stop.
“Davey had the confidence, even if he didn’t score in a game, that he was going to get his chances,” Cope said. “A forward goes a long way toward earning that respect by scoring seven goals in the first three games of the season.”
U.S.A. vs. Spain
When Tedstrom was interviewed for this story, things were not going well for him in soccer.
“We’re playing FIFA ’07 ” we’re a little out of date,” Tedstrom said. “Kalen (Burnett)’s beaten me both times.”
For the record, Burnett was playing Spain and Tedstrom was controlling the U.S. because it’s rare that the latter gets beaten on the soccer field.
As the team’s center back, Tedstrom is a major reason that the Huskies can play an aggressive 3-5-2 formation. He, along with Burnett and Gonzalez, keep it tight on defense.
“I think he steps into a line of great center backs we’ve been fortunate to have,” Cope said. “He kind of stepped in for Tony (Seibert in 2006), and we’re been strong back there dating back to Evie (Gonzalez) and Connor Drumm, and even Ryan Philips. We don’t give Connor a lot of support back there, but he still does a great job. He makes it possible for us to be creative up front.”
This is Tedstrom’s second all-league selection in soccer. He also was all-league in hockey and a state champion in track in the 3,200-meter relay last year.
It’s not just that Molina scores goals (15, to be precise), it’s how and when he scores them. The Huskies beat league champion, Eagle Valley twice, by an aggregate score of 4-2. Molina scored all four for Battle Mountain.
As a junior, he is rapidly approaching Edgar Hernandez-status, high praise in Battle Mountain circles, when it comes to being clutch.
“I think he’s one of the most-skilled players we’ve had in the program,” Cope said. “The things he does with the ball are magical. He has big goals in big games, and that’s what clutch players do.”
David Gonzalez was a lovely surprise for Battle Mountain this year. Booked early and often in 2007, Gonzalez had a clean sheet in 2008. Not only that, but he became a captain as a junior, an absolute rarity at Battle Mountain.
“Honestly, I don’t think you could overstate how important David is to our team or our school,” Cope said. “He bridges gaps between different groups. He sets expectations for teammates. He shows empathy for people on our team. He becomes the guy you want in the trenches with you. Nobody is more competitive, has more heart or maximizes his athletic ability than David.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.