Huskies lacrosse round 2 preview
It was preordained.
When the 4A state boys’ lacrosse bracket came out early this week, everyone saw the possibility, but did not say anything so as not to anger the sports gods.
And for Battle Mountain lacrosse, it’s a historical necessity,
It had to be Aspen in the quarterfinals and, indeed, the Skiers are the opponent on Friday, May 11, at 6 p.m. in Edwards.
In the olden days of Mountain Conference, one league for all of the Western Slope, Aspen was the stumbling block to the league title, be it during regular-season play or in the conference title game when the circuit had two divisions.
The one year Battle Mountain won the old Mountain Conference, the Huskies beat the Skiers, 7-5, during the regular season, only to see Aspen return in the quarterfinals.
The Skiers beat the Huskies, 8-7, in overtime, after Battle Mountain led Aspen 6-0 at the half and 7-3 during the fourth quarter.
History often means more to coaches and silly sports writers. The current Huskies may have seen a cup of coffee’s worth of playing time in the three games the two teams played in 2015 and 2016, when this year’s seniors were freshmen or sophomores.
Seventeen- and 18-year-olds rarely give a hoot about history, unless of course they are in soccer coach David Cope’s American history class. Ahem.
Yet as Cope’s coaching career has shown us, eventually, there comes a time in postseason play when a team has to slay the dragon. Cope’s Huskies did so on Nov. 1, 2012, beating Evergreen in the quarters after three straight years of being bounced from the playoffs by the Cougars.
And when the 2012 soccer state champions have their 25th reunion, that Evergreen game will likely be conflated with the state-title win, which was actually against Palmer Ridge.
Part of slaying the dragon also involves grit, a word we’ve batted around a bit this season with Huskies lacrosse. There’s going to be adversity or, perhaps, it’s already happened before the game with the extracurricular activities that happened at the end of the first-round win against Windsor.
Yes, the Huskies will not have Charlie Morrow on Friday. But Battle Mountain went 4-1 without older Morrow to start the season. The Huskies beat Steamboat without Jeremy Sforzo (concussion) back in April. The defense continued to be stout without Bryce Runckel (shoulder).
No excuses, guys.
This is likely the last home game of the season. How do you want to walk off the field?
Give me Liberty (Common) or …
No need to go all Patrick Henry here for Vail Mountain School soccer. The Gore Rangers head to Liberty Common on Saturday, May 12, at 11 a.m.
In answer to most people’s question, Liberty Common is a Fort Collins charter school, whose high school started in 2010. (I’ve found the postseason is a good way to learn Colorado geography.)
The No. 7-seeded Eagles should beat No. 23 VMS, except for the fact that those rankings have no basis in reality. The rating-percentage index doesn’t take into account classification — i.e. the 3A Gore Rangers playing 4A teams. (Seriously, the small school gets no reward for playing a school four-times its size, and it annoys me.)
The RPI also doesn’t take into account that the Gore Rangers weren’t playing with a good portion of their team this season. VMS is a good team at full strength.
And, if you believe in the power of orange, the winner of this game likely plays Colorado Academy. Ask the Prince of Paonia/ aka coach Bob Bandoni about CA, kids.
David and Goliath
This is why Cope always is crazy nervous before a first-round playoff game.
Most of the time, you’re meant to win your first playoff game.
When you’re ranked No. 16 and at No. 1 Windsor as is the case for Battle Mountain soccer on Saturday at 4 p.m., there is no pressure. Windsor, which seems to be a required Huskies postseason opponent, should win this game.
Take your cue from Cope, play loose. And, yes, the 4 p.m. start is a pain in the pardon our French, as Madame Audrey Teague would say, with prom.
But, you win, and it’s the greatest prom ever.