Huskies howl over the Devils in tight early season rival match | VailDaily.com
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Huskies howl over the Devils in tight early season rival match

Devils mounted a thrilling comeback, making their presence known in season opener

Battle Mountain's Alexis Dozal drives down the field against Eagle Valley Thursday in Gypsum.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

The Devils boys soccer team were within inches of a tie, but Battle Mountain goalie Cruz Ramirez had other plans, with a diving save that carried the Huskies to a 3-2 victory at John Ramunno Field on Thursday evening.

The game started with a commanding performance from the Huskies, led by an early penalty kick score from Joseph Fernandez within the first two minutes of play to set the tone for the first half. Minutes later, a beautiful assist play helped the Huskies find the back of the net again, earning them an early 2-0 lead.

 

 

Eagle Valley's Denilson Sandoval moves the ball around against Battle Mountain Thursday in Gypsum.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Then, the Devils started to apply pressure, tightening the defense and seeing more opportunities on the attack. They gave the Huskies plenty of fight for the rest of the half, though the Devils fell short of finding the back of the net.



The second half started off with a header goal from Husky Bryant Ramirez in the first five minutes of play. Shortly later, the Devils responded with a penalty kick score from Roman Turner to put them on the board at 3-1.

Then a header goal from Denilson Sandoval tightened the deficit, putting the Devils within reach of a tie with 27 minutes left to play. As the Devils closed in on the Huskies, the home crowd got louder and louder, reminding the Huskies they were a ways from Edwards.

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Eagle Valley's Will Gerdes gets ball control against Battle Mountain Thursday in Gypsum.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

The Huskies then matched the amplitude with their play, mounting an aggressive drive that was stopped by scrambling Devils goalie Jorge Bardales as he dove onto the ball to protect it from Husky attackers. At this point, Devils fans were on their feet as their team rose to the occasion.

The Devils fought hard throughout the rest of the game, earning several scoring opportunities, though none were enough to tie their rival.

“You have to give a lot of credit to Eagle Valley,” said Huskies coach David Cope. “When it goes to three nothing, it could easily get out of control, but they stayed to the task and kept battling, so good for them.”

Battle Mountain celebrates after a goal against Eagle Valley Thursday in Gypsum.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Cope was proud of his team’s fortitude in stopping the Devils’ comeback.

“At times we were superb tonight, at times we were playing at a high speed, we were physical and creating chances,” Cope said. “It was a great local rivalry game.”

On the other sideline, Devils coach Andy Wheeler was feeling the excitement.

“I’m a little fired up right now,” Wheeler said. “This is a young team, and this is my second year as a head coach. We have young kids who want to play Devils soccer, and I think we’re dangerous, and people are going to start to realize that,” said Wheeler. “I think Western Slope is going to see what’s up.”


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