Huskies’ season ends in OT
EDWARDS, Colorado ” Overtime, the postseason and Battle Mountain just don’t mix.
Earlier this year, the Huskies hockey team dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to Regis in the state-title game. Wednesday in Round 1 of the soccer playoffs, Battle Mountain ” with a few veterans from the Regis game on the roster ” found heartbreak again when Longmont’s Aaron Buysee scored a golden goal four minutes into overtime, propelling the Trojans to a 3-2 win.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Buysee said after being mobbed by his teammates. “I couldn’t have dreamed it like this.”
No. 17 Longmont (11-5-1) advances to take on No. 1 Rock Canyon Saturday, while the Huskies finish the season with an 11-5 record.
“It was a great game, and I was proud of our guys for fighting back into it,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “I thought that we showed a lot of character in the second half. It’s just unfortunate. When you go into overtime, I think anything can happen. The unfortunate thing is that we never really got started in overtime in terms of getting into their end.
“That’s a shame, huh? The hockey guys. It’s just one of those things.”
Longmont’s goal came from an unlikely source in Buysee. It was only the junior’s third goal of the season, but it was a product of training.
“Cody (Berenson) had the free kick,” Buysee said. “He put it right there just as we practiced. We do this all the time. I just looked far post.”
“Just yesterday we worked a lot of corners and set pieces because in the playoffs a set piece will win a game,” Longmont coach Nathan Oliver said. “It’s beaten us before. It went our way this time.”
The Huskies looked like they had the momentum going into extra time. Down 2-1 in the second half, Battle Mountain pressured the Trojans. It seemed the Huskies had let their best chance at an equalizer go when Jair Molina hit the right post and Davey DeChant put the ensuing rebound over the crossbar.
Yet with three minutes to go, it was sophomore Cody Hervert who became an unlikely hero with a shot from 30 yards out.
“I actually thought it went 2 feet over,” Huskies senior Kalen Burnett said. “I thought, ‘What kind of a shot was that?'”
A very good one, as it turned out, even though Hervert couldn’t watch.
“Right when I hit it, I knew it was going over the goalie,” the sophomore said. “I didn’t know it was going in at that point, but I knew it was going over him. I didn’t even watch it. I turned away. I was so excited. I couldn’t watch it. I heard everyone scream. It was great feeling.”
In a choppy first half when both teams were getting used to their nerves and weather more apropos for girls soccer, Battle Mountain struck first. Hervert started a run down the left side, which sprung Molina. Molina was denied, but Segio Sifuentes got to the rebound for an early lead.
Josh Buysee, Aaron’s younger brother, evened things six minutes later with a laser of a shot off a nice pass from Sydney Donaldson. With five minutes to go, Longmont’s Tim Diefenbach redirected a free kick deftly for a 2-1 lead.
“We’ve been resilient all year long,” Oliver said. “Almost every game, we’ve been down by a goal to start. We’ve had to come back. This team just never gives up.”
While a No. 17 beating a No. 16 isn’t really an upset, it was a crushing way to end the season for Battle Mountain. The Huskies hadn’t lost any form of postseason game at home on the boys’ side during Cope’s tenure dating back to 1993. It’s also the first time that Battle Mountain didn’t win its first-round game of the 4A playoffs since 2003 ” when the field was just 16 teams and the No. 16 Huskies opened with No. 1 Liberty.
When Aaron Buysee scored, the Huskies gathered for their annual huddle where Cope recognized his team’s five seniors ” Patty Baskins, Burnett, DeChant, Tyler Madison and Marco Ordono.
This crew has been an integral part of the Huskies success the last four years, but is likely getting the unfair tag of being the class that didn’t make it a five-peat in league titles.
“It’s a great group of kids, a great group of seniors,” Cope said. “As I said in the huddle, the thing that’s most sad is when you have a group of kids you enjoy spending time with, and to say good bye to those kids is just a shame.
“Over four years you focus on the achievements they had, the things they did achieve and the character they showed. I’ll always remember both Eagle (Valley) games (this year), but particularly the one where Eagle scored with seven minutes to go and we came back to win in overtime. That’s one of the best game I’ve ever been associated with.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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