Huskies slip past Devils, 2-1, in overtime
EDWARDS — Just when you think you have everything figured out, the 4A Western Slope soccer race throws another curve ball.
What seemed to be a ho-hum 1-0 soccer game turned into a dramatic 2-1 overtime win for Battle Mountain over Eagle Valley on Thursday, April 5, in Edwards.
It leaves one thinking, “What the heck just happened?”
Very basically, Eagle Valley improbably tied the game in the 79th minute with a freshman scoring on a counter attack, quite possibly wrecking its archrival’s season.
The Huskies responded with an equally unlikely goal just one minute into overtime.
Battle Mountain’s Audrey Teague scored in the 46th minute on a penalty kick, and with the Huskies (5-3-1 overall and 5-2 in the Slope) possessing the ball for most of the game, it seemed like that tally would stand.
Yet, lo and behold, Devils freshman Uma Nanin didn’t think it was over. Subbed in late, she equalized.
“That was incredible,” Devils coach Maggie Sherman said. “To have it be a freshman coming off the bench, just wanting it is awesome.”
This is when the wheels could have come off for Battle Mountain. A tie would have been pretty much a loss. Panic can set in after a team thinks it’s won the game.
‘In it for each other’
“I’ve never seen a team like this one before,” Teague said. “We’re all so in it for each other. I think we’ve really pulled together these last few games.”
And, though it may not have been pretty, the Huskies found a way.
It was an innocent enough shot. Avery Weaver flicked it back Rayna Keeney, who put it on frame, and it went through Devils senior goalie Brennecke Gale’s legs and into the net.
“The group showed a lot of composure to come together for the OT and get it done,” Cope said. “You’ve got to give Eagle Valley a lot of credit. They didn’t have much of the ball and they hung in and made a game of it. They scored an opportunistic goal. It’s good test of our mentality.”
About that goal
That’s a save that Gale makes 99 times out of 100 and Thursday just happened to be the 100th shot.
Her teammates hugged her after the game. Cope left the handshake line to go over to the Devils’ bench to give her a few words of encouragement. And, Sherman also took her aside with a hug and a pep talk.
Sherman was goal-scorer at the Vail Mountain School. At Colorado State, when the school was building a Division I soccer team, she saw her opportunity to play as goalie. She’s been out on that island, too, and she knows.
“It happens. There’s no goalie in the world who can’t say they’ve done something similar,” Sherman said. “You learn from it. You never want it to happen in a game like this. I feel bad for Brennecke because this is her senior year and her last time playing on this field and she wants a better memory. She’s our goalie. We support her 100 percent.”
Cope brought up another point.
“Brennecke Gale made an incredible save earlier in the game and that’s what kept them in the game,” he said. “That’s the reason their goal sent it into overtime. She doesn’t make that save, we’re not talking about overtime right now.”
The Huskies have won four in a row and are right in the middle of mosh pit at the top of the Slope with Glenwood Springs, 5-0 winners at Summit County on Thursday, and Steamboat Springs.
“We wanted to pull through,” Kenney said. “We were positive throughout the game, and I think that is what got us that last goal.”
And while the teams seem headed in opposite directions, they’ve both experienced the one-goal-loss blues this season. Both of the Huskies’ league losses are by one — to Glenwood and Steamboat.
Tuesday was Eagle Valley’s third by one — Glenwood, Palisade and Battle Mountain.
The Devils (4-6, 2-5) have a chance to avenge one of those defeats on Tuesday, April 10, in Glenwood Springs, while the Huskies host Rifle on Saturday, April 7.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.