Huskies shoot their way into second round
EDWARDS — Welcome to Battle Mountain Soccer: The Hunger Games Edition.
After a 2-1 first-round playoff win, the Huskies posed in the locker room with a rack of bows and arrows.
There is no word yet on who will play Katniss Everdeen, but Huskies head coach David Cope did joke that Jim Glendenning would be President Snow.
“I think it represents how (Everdeen) was the underdog and she fought her way through,” Jordan Denning said. “They say, ‘May the odds be ever in your favor.’ I think that the odds are in our favor.”
“It’s either you or them,” Cope said. “You have to be a little bit ruthless.”
There is no word yet on whether nightlock, poisoned berries, will be used in practice today.
It wasn’t a work of art on Wednesday, but Battle Mountain (12-4) is one of the last 16 teams standing in Class 4A. First-round games rarely are. The theme was simply to find a way to survive and advance.
The Huskies scored late on a long strike from freshman Audrey Teague, adhering to one of Cope’s maxims and a general rule of soccer — first five and last five.
But it was the Cope’s father, Alan, whose words ruled the day.
Denver South’s Kaitlyn Krieg leveled the game in the second half and Huskies fans were looking at the possibility of extra time and possibly kicks.
And then Emily Cope scored the 41st goal of her career. Out of those goals, many have been beautiful one-timers or strikes with perfect aim.
This one went near side on the right and somehow squeezed its way in between the post and the Rebels keeper.
“It’s OK,” the Cope who wears No. 5 said. “My granddad told me that they don’t rate goals. They only count them. Just put it on target.”
And with a nod to Grandpa Alan, that became a beautiful score as it was the game-winner.
“At this stage of the season you look for big players to come through in big moments,” coach Cope said. “Emily’s been hearing that from me since she was about 7 years old.”
Battle Mountain will need no motivation for its second-round matchup. The Huskies are heading to Windsor, 8-0 winners over Kennedy, on Saturday.
The Wizards knocked the Huskies out of last year’s quarterfinals, 1-0, in Edwards. There is no question that Battle Mountain wishes to return the favor.
If anything, this season, filled with ups and downs, has hardened this crew.
“I think we’re a tough group. Obviously, we have some injuries but everyone’s giving 100 percent for us today, allowing us to win,” Emily Cope said. “It means a lot that everyone is giving everything they have for the team. That will help us a lot in the tournament.”
“I think it’s important because we had a bit of a rough patch last week,” Denning said. “It just proved to ourselves that we can stick together. #Bouncebackability.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.