Huskies, Rangers meet in Round 1
EDWARDS – It’s time for a blackout after a whiteout.
For the second year in a row, snow has pushed Battle Mountain soccer’s first-round home playoff game to a Thursday. The No. 10 Huskies host No. 23 Lewis-Palmer at today at 3 p.m., and the home fans are asked to wear black for the occasion.
It you’re looking for an omen, Battle Mountain had no problem dispatching Green Mountain, 3-0, last year after a day of snow in its playoff opener.
But the greater theme may be Thursday soccer for the Huskies.
On Thursday, Sept. 22, Battle Mountain hit its low point of the season, a 1-1 draw with Glenwood Springs.
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“The cool thing was after that game, we had four big games on Thursdays,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “We told the fellas that we needed four big Thursdays, if they wanted to play with snow on the ground.”
Let it be said. Let it be done. The Huskies beat Glenwood, 2-1, one week later in the rematch. The next Thursday, it was a 2-0 win over Moffat County. Two weeks ago today, the Huskies (12-1-2) avenged their only loss of the season with a 3-2 victory over Steamboat Springs. Last Thursday, they clinched their second consecutive 4A Slope title with a 2-1 decision over Eagle Valley.
And now there is snow on the ground.
This is not hockey
The Battle Mountain faithful are more familiar with Lewis-Palmer when it comes to the ice rink. The Rangers and Huskies used to play in the same conference – the Peak – and still play each other now in nonconference play. And since the Huskies have hockey players on the soccer roster, we remind the boys that the Rangers beat the Huskies in the first round of the hockey playoffs last year.
As for soccer, the Rangers come in with a 6-8-1 record with a 5-4-1 mark in the very competitive Colorado Springs Metro League.
The overall losing record is deceptive as the Rangers lost to 5A playoff teams Liberty and Pine Creek, as well as 4A No. 2 Evergreen and No. 14 D’Evelyn, which is playing Steamboat tonight at 7.
Lewis-Palmer played Cheyenne Mountain twice in its league, falling to the Indians, 3-2 and 3-1. The Huskies beat Cheyenne Mountain, 4-2, for whatever the laws of transitivity are worth.
“We got a little bit of feedback,” Cope said. “They have a solid midfield and very good goaltending. They are very physical and strong.”
The Rangers’ leading scorer is Tucker Nadal with 13 goals. Scott Hawkins is the top assist man with eight. Look for Adam Fiala in net for Lewis-Palmer.
Lewis-Palmer and its fans likely did the same Internet search on Battle Mountain, and here’s what they found. Heivan Garcia and Joe LyBarger led the Huskies with seven goals each. It’s not exactly an eye-popping total, but that’s how it’s been in 2011 for the Huskies.
They have 18 players with goals, nine with game-winners and seven come-from behind victories. And the Huskies have allowed just 16 goals all season.
“They were all on Bryan Aubel’s side,” Huskies defender Gunnar Wilson joked.
In that spirit, the Huskies are a pretty loose squad, given the trials and tribulations of a regular season that has been well-documented.
“If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger, I guess,” Wilson said, sounding much like Nietzsche. “We’re fine with it. If someone’s sick that day, or worse-case scenario, you’re ready.”
With assorted comings and goings, Battle Mountain has used 15 different lineups in its 15 games. The Huskies, however, gasp, could use the same lineup today for the first time this season.
There will assembly in the gym just before game time, so expect a big crowd today.
“You have to give them a good show,” junior Erick Briones said. “I think it’s going to be exciting. It’s the playoffs. We’ll give it our all. I think everybody’s excited.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.