Huskies soccer extra
While putting away equipment in the bowels of Battle Mountain High School, Huskies assistant soccer coach Allison O’Neill said, “I better text Krum, thanking him for letting us have Heivan tonight.”
Krum would be defensive coordinator Jeff Krumlauf of the Battle Mountain football team. Football and soccer have been sharing Heivan Garcia, who kicks extra points for the former and ended up scoring two goals, including the game-winner, for the latter Friday night as Battle Mountain soccer stunned No. 5-ranked Cheyenne Mountain, 4-2.
(For the record, it sounded like Timmy Licciardi went 4-for-5 on PATs as football downed Glenwood Springs, 34-21.)
This edition of Huskies extra will be a little more soccer-oriented, and deservedly so, though the two squads shared one thing this week – they made statements. Football shook off its loss to Rifle by taking a commanding 27-0 halftime lead at Glenwood’s Homecoming. That said, “We’re not the same-old Battle Mountain.”
Soccer said, “We are the same-old Battle Mountain,” taking out Glenwood Springs, 2-1, Thursday and then doubling up Cheyenne, 4-2, Friday night.
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Though the football team has been making waves – and deservedly so – with its 4-1 start, Battle Mountain boys soccer is the flagship program at the school. The Huskies are a staggering 151-60-15 since 1998. That run includes 13-consecutive playoff appearances and five league crowns in the last seven years.
But this year has been difficult and it wasn’t until the last 48 hours with these two big wins that one could feel good about this team. These two wins are not only great results – winning at Glenwood had always been an obstacle for Battle Mountain and the win over Cheyenne Mountain speaks for itself – but they go a long way toward erasing antics on and off the field, which did not speak well of the team.
The team showed some serious character in the last 48 hours and that’s the biggest thing from these wins.
Now down to postgame for some well-deserved whooping after the big win against Cheyenne.
“Ever since freshman year, it’s been a dream to beat Cheyenne Mountain because we’ve gone down there and played our best and it hasn’t been good enough,” senior Bryan Aubel, who had an assist on the Huskies’ first goal. “It was just awesome tonight.”
“It’s unbelievable. I have no words for it,” goalie Christian Espinoza said. “We took the No. 5 team in the state down. We need to play like we normally do, just relax, touch the ball back and forth, and, when we see a hole open, attack.”
“You don’t want to get too carried away, but it’s enormous,” Huskies coach David Cope said.
• You ever notice how Cope always just sums it up perfectly? It was an enormous win because it looked like Cheyenne Mountain was going to run the Huskies off the field in the first 11 minutes, building a 2-0 lead.
Cope was a bit worried. Ever the Internet guru, he knew that Cheyenne Mountain had scored seven first-half goals Thursday night in a 12-3 win against Mesa Ridge and had blasted Woodland Park, 10-0, earlier in the week.
“At 2-0, we just wanted the team to stabilize the game for five or 10 minutes, just to get grip on ourselves,” Cope said. “We don’t have to get over-run. We can play. If it stays 2-0 for 10, 20, 30 minutes, that’s OK. We needed a 10-minute period to stabilize the game. Once we did, I think there was a five-minute period where we scored tied the game and we were back in it.”
For the record, Cope really didn’t say “we were back in it.” That’s how excited Cope was.
• The Huskies scored on an excellent combo from Aubel to Nick Vossler – beautiful pass from the former and a stunning header finish from the latter. That’s Aubel’s first appearance on the scoresheet, a nice acknowledgment for all the unseen solid work he’s done all year. For Vossler, that’s how you respond to adversity.
Vossler started the season in goal, but lost his job when he made a bad decision and missed some games. He’s come back as field player and has two goals in his last two games.
• Where’s Heivan?: Garcia is no stranger to big goals. He’s just been struggling this season. Hopefully, he’s broken out of that funk because he had the next two – the equalizer and the game-winner.
The press box shook when Garcia scored a second time.
“It was a corner,” Garcia said. “It hit off a defender. I shot it. I didn’t think it was going to go in. It was awesome. I’m just happy for the whole team. This is huge. We weren’t expecting a 4-2 result. Now we have confidence to play anybody in the state.”
• Christian Nichols to Broby Leeds iced it, and this is a big win for Battle Mountain on many counts. It should give the Huskies a lift, going into its final four league games – all at home, starting with Palisade Monday at 5 p.m. (Please note the time change.)
It also should reverberate around the state when it comes to playoff seeding. It gives instant credibility to the Huskies and the rest of the Slope.
• By the way, the last time, the Huskies beat Cheyenne was in Round 2 of the 2005 state playoffs. The Huskies won, 3-1, at Freedom Park. This was the second of two-consecutive playoff hat tricks by Edgar Hernandez, who was the definition of clutch.
• The 2005 squad was likely the best Battle Mountain boys soccer team the school has fielded. Friday night’s win doesn’t guarantee greatness, but it’s a nice first step. In the meantime, the Huskies have appeared to have gotten their house in order, and it should be a fun run down the stretch.
“To came from two down to beat a legitimate, quality team on our home field in front of home fans, it’s emblematic of the heart this team has shown year,” Cope said.
“I think this group has done it all season long. You begin the season with (Chris) Shea being suspended for the first game for the red card (from last year’s playoffs). Then it just went on from there with different things. There’s always been a sense with this group that everyone has to pitch in a little more to make up for something missing. In the end, maybe, when everybody pitches in a little more, we end up with a greater sum.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.