Huskies hold off Steamboat Springs
EDWARDS — It’s just never easy against Steamboat Springs.
The Sailors’ Wyatt Arce scored in the 79th minute, putting a shudder into the Huskies, but Battle Mountain soccer hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Steamboat on Thursday night in Edwards.
And with that, Battle Mountain takes the lead in the 4A Slope at 4-2 with 12 points, having played more games. With a 1-0 win at Glenwood Springs, also on Thursday, Summit County (3-0-1) is at 10 points tied with the Sailors (3-1-1, 10 points).
“This group is starting to understand it’s the little details,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “When the margin is so small, winning or losing is hitting the post or not, you’ve got to realize the extra two percent matters. Whether that’s your warm-up or play or training, if we could just give a couple percent extra. It’s going to be a close league.”
Perhaps, a photo finish.
The Huskies continued to tinker with their 11. Thursday, Oscar Lopez got his varsity debut, while Cope moved David Ortiz back to left back to disguise the latter’s runs.
As it turned out, the new guy got the first goal in the 20th minute from Edgardo Rodriguez.
“It felt great,” Lopez said. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. I never thought I’d get to do this against the (first-place) team in the league.”
Rodriguez fed Lopez, who went “top cheddar,” according to Huskies’ center back Eli Stephens.
“We didn’t want them to get behind us,” Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said. “That’s how the first goal happened. Most importantly, what we addressed was, as the half wore on, we started to possess well, creating opportunities, but we lacked the final finish.”
Part of that was Huskies goalie Jack Skidmore playing well. The other part was that the Sailors were playing to Skidmore’s strength by going high on him. Skidmore repeatedly snared Steamboat crosses and batted away shots with height and jumping ability.
Steamboat’s goal came, in fact, by going low late.
However, by that time, the Huskies were up 2-0 on the Sailors by an own goal in the second half. Battle Mountain’s Andrew Herrera got credited with the score.
“(An) own goal happens,” Bohlmann said. “It happens because the opposing team is putting pressure on you. But that’s part of the game. Our guys did well. You skip a beat and you just keep playing.”
Battle Mountain and Steamboat meet again up north on Oct. 7. As Bohlmann mentioned, the Sailors need to work on finishing. Meanwhile, the Huskies have to find some consistency.
“Starting with the loss to (The Classical Academy), we noticed our focus has been a little low at the beginning of games,” Stephens said. “Before the games, we’ve been pushing our focus and try to push ourselves mentally.”
Cope thinks it’s getting better.
“It’s an exciting league. I think we didn’t play poorly,” the coach said of his team’s game on Tuesday at Summit. “It was one of the most exciting high school games I’ve seen. It has to be top-five, and one of those was the Steamboat game here last year.”
Presumably, also on that top-five list would be Battle Mountain’s win against Palmer Ridge in 2012. Palmer Ridge would be Steamboat’s next stop on Saturday. That game is at Breese Stadium in Monument at 1 p.m.
The Huskies have a quick turnaround, playing at Palisade today at the Peach Bowl.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.