Battle Mountain Huskies host Northridge Grizzlies in Round 1 of soccer playoffs
EDWARDS — So can Battle Mountain soccer start another postseason run to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and the state final like last year?
If so, then it starts with Northridge on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 3 p.m. in the first round of the 4A state playoffs.
The Huskies (12-3) drew No. 14 when the brackets came out. It’s probably not the seed the three-time 4A Slope champions wanted, but last year’s first tournament with the rating-percentage index did not exactly go to form as the No. 9 Huskies were a surprise entrant in the final.
“I think there’s going to be more upsets under the new system than previously,” said Huskies coach David Cope. “I think it’s an exciting thing for us.”
Meet the Grizzlies
Last year’s bracket exploded during Round 2, the upsets including D’Evelyn sending No. 1 Cheyenne Mountain packing. Northridge lost to Cheyenne Mountain, 3-1, in the first round.
“They gave Cheyenne a scare last year,” Cope said.
Northridge is 9-5-1 overall and 3-3-1 in the always strong Northern League. Niwot, No. 3, and Centaurus, No. 7, handled the Grizzlies pretty handily, but Northridge got the better of Silver Creek, No. 10, in Longmont. (Perhaps, the Huskies know the feeling.)
Jesus Torres leads the Grizzlies with 11 goals. The playmaker appears to be Cesar Arrellano with 11 assists. Look out for Alexis Gomez (nine goals and six assists) and Max Kolanz (six and seven).
Huskies boast experience
Battle Mountain enters a seasoned squad.
“We have experienced kids who played in five playoff games last year,” Cope said. “We’re starting 10 seniors. I think we can show a lot of composure.”
One thing distressing to the Huskies faithful is how the regular season ended, a 4-1 loss at Steamboat Springs.
“There are two things we took from that,” Cope said. “The first thing is here’s what we can do differently. The other is not to take it too much to heart. That’s our first loss in October since 2014. You can become a victim of your success where every loss is like a death in the family. We’re a good team.”
Looking around the bracket, Steamboat was the only other Western Slope team to make the 4A tournament. The Sailors are at Golden on Wednesday. Montrose is No. 4 and gets Evergreen in the first round.
Air Academy is the top seed, while The Classical Academy, the defending champ, is No. 5. Glenwood Springs (9-6) was this year’s hard-luck RPI victim, finishing out of the field at No. 35.
Vail Mountain state-bound
EAST VAIL — The orange is coming.
Vail Mountain School soccer was on the bubble, but the RPI was kind to the Gore Rangers. With the fourth-highest strength-of-schedule, VMS earned the No. 28 seed and plays Denver Science and Technology-Stapleton at Manual High School in Denver on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 1 p.m.
“We’re super-excited to be in,” said VMS coach Alex Darbut. “We got some boys back from Austria and we’re in a good place mentally.”
The boys from Austria would be Max Bervy and Bridger Gile, who were training for ski season.
The winner of Thursday’s game takes on the Bayfield-Delta winner. The Panthers were the 12th seed, while Coal Ridge nabbed No. 15. Roaring Fork is No. 23.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.