Huskies rally, overcome Eagle Valley, 3-1
EDWARDS — OK, everyone sing the theme song from the old sitcom “The Jeffersons.”
“Hey, hey, we’re moving on up …”
Battle Mountain soccer got Logan Ruark back from a hip injury on Thursday in time for Round 1 against Eagle Valley, and that meant Creek Kamby needed a new home. He ended up at striker, and that seemed to work as Kamby had two goals and Ruark the other as the Huskies rallied from behind to beat upset-minded Eagle Valley, 3-1, in Edwards.
“Sometimes, we put the chess pieces in the right place,” Huskies coach David Cope joked.
Battle Mountain needed the tweak as it got all it could handle from Eagle Valley. Brian Alt to Aaron Ledezma gave the Devils an early 1-0 lead and that stood until the 48th minute.
“I think we played smart,” Devils coach Bratzo Horruitiner said. “The guys are really sad because they put their heart and soul into it to win the game. We can still win. We made mistakes on three rebounds, and they scored.”
Ruark had been out with left-hip surgery performed six months ago. He hadn’t played soccer in eight months.
“It was hard to watch, especially the last two,” Ruark said of a rare two-game losing streak the Huskies had coming into Thursday night’s game. “I really wanted to be out there helping. Cope told me, ‘Eagle Valley game, you’ll be back.’ It was circled on the calendar.”
The senior is listed as a defender, but he’s played everything but goalie for the Huskies. Ruark joked that he’d leave the goaltending to his brother, Josh (Class of 2006), who indeed was a stellar keeper for Battle Mountain in his day.
But where do you put Kamby with Ruark returning?
“He’s the fastest kid on our team. We’ve measured that,” Cope said of Kamby. “He’s a big target. He does well holding the ball.”
And so Kamby returned to his regular position, up top, and that worked in the second half.
Down 1-0, Ruark fired a shot on Colin Rouaud. The Devils keeper made the save, but Kamby slammed the equalizer home.
Kamby, with his size, also seems to be a perfect fit for a set-piece header in the box. He almost got that in the 63rd minute when he headed a Tony Luevano corner kick right off the crossbar. While Kamby was stymied, the rebound went to Ruark who got the goal.
“Before the corner was taken, I was thinking that this would be a good time to score one,” Ruark said. “The ball went over me and I thought, ‘There goes that one.’ Creek did well. He got it. He headed it and it came off the crossbar and I was in the right place at the right time.”
Kamby was Johnny-on-the-spot to finish it, taking the rebound off another Luevano shot to ice the game, and the Huskies (3-2 overall and 2-1 in the Slope) were back in the win column.
“I played forward for years,” Kamby said. “That’s what I’m used to. Center back was a change for me coming into the season. It felt good to be at the right place.”
Battle Mountain expects to be in the postseason. The Huskies have been there 16 years in a row. While the Devils lost, they might have made a statement that they’re in the race for the postseason.
“Absolutely. If we manage our speed of play and fix our mistakes, I think we have a team,” Horruitiner said. “Looking at the results around the league, we saw Steamboat struggling in some games. We beat Glenwood. I think we will surprise.”
Eagle Valley (3-3, 2-1) heads to Delta on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Battle Mountain is in nonconference action at Evergreen. That should bring back some memories. After losing to the Cougars for three years in a row in the playoffs, the 2012 Huskies played at Evergreen in the state quarterfinals, winning 2-1, thanks to goalie Christian Espinoza’s heroics in a shootout.
“After all those playoff games, we talked and said, ‘Let’s schedule a home-and-home,’” Cope said. “It’s great for our league to test ourselves against a Jeffco team. It’s great for these kids who were sort of the tail end of the state-championship team and were a part of it on the buses and on the benches. Now they get to tell their own Evergreen story.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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