Huskies soccer looks to repeat
EAGLE-VAIL – Battle Mountain soccer’s Kyle Moore says his team is going to repeat.”We’re going to get the repeat,” Moore said. “We’re 4 1/2 (games) ahead of the Yankees. We’ve got Manny (Ramirez) still. (Curt) Schilling and (Keith) Foulke hopefully will look good.”All incessant Red Sox banter aside, the Battle Mountain midfielder and the rest of Huskies soccer are thinking repeat. Every year, Battle Mountain coach David Cope puts a quote from the world of soccer on the team’s practice T-shirts.There is no quote this year – simply a bull’s-eye with a Husky in the center of the circle. For the first time since 1993, the Huskies enter as the defending champions of the Slope.”There doesn’t need to be a quote this year,” Cope said. “They know that all eyes are on them, at least in this part of the state, and that’s good. We’re going to be bringing out the trophy and looking at it and spending some time with that this week and know that’s our title until anybody can take it away. It’s a nice challenge.””It’s not going to be easy,” said Moore, this time referring to Battle Mountain. “I think it’s going to be more difficult than last year. It’s certainly more than possible. Some of us have been playing together since fifth grade. We definitely have a good shot at it.”
Battle Mountain certainly has the tools. The Huskies have lost a lot to graduation – Andy Banner (the boys’ single-season goal scoring record holder with 23), Antonio Aparicio, Evie Gonzales, Juan Baragan, Harrison Brown and so on. But there’s a lot back, too. Moore, Josh Ruark, Tyler Cole, Isaac Anderson, Edgar Hernandez and Connor Drumm are the six seniors who will lead this team. “We have a great senior class this year. Most of them have been starters for two years,” Cope said. “We were forced into starting a bunch of sophomores two years ago and I thought we would take our knocks. But, we did really well and won 10 games ( in 2003-04). They’ve played in 24 wins over two years.”Questions in backThe major question will be in back. The good news is that Drumm will be the anchor. He is a rock-solid, all-league defender. It will be up to the likes of Mike Scijliano, Tony Seibert, Chris Woodruff, Taylor Telling and Derek Byron to fill in the back.
Cope may switch from last year’s 3-4-3 to a 4-4-2 depending on how this group mature.”I’m not sure,” the coach said. “We’re going to look at players in the next couple of weeks. We may end up with four playing in the back since we have less experience. I don’t know yet.”There’s no problem like that in goal. Ruark and Joel Gonzales, who split time last year, are both back. Toss in D.J. VanCuren and Cope has a nice problem finding playing time for his players in net. Look for Ruark and Gonzales to play field positions when not goaltending.Midfield the strengthThe midfield is likely the team’s strength with Moore, Anderson and Cole as returning starters. Moore’s a returning all-leaguer. Last year when the play went through him, the team was usually at its best.
Cope would like to see more from this trio, especially Cole and Anderson, in terms of attacking. “We feel like Tyler’s done a lot of the dirty work over the last couple of years in the middle of the field, winning balls and starting plays,” Cope said. “This year, we’d like to see him contribute a little more in the way of assists and goals. Isaac’s ready to step up his play like that.”Eric Garcia could be the fourth midfielder in the mix. There’s also the thought of moving Byron and Woodruff up from the back.There is no shortage of firepower up front. Hernandez scored 12 goals his junior season and Cope is quick to point out that Banner had 12 his junior season before putting up 23 last year.Gustavo Bronfield, Jose Pavon and Eric Sandoval should contribute. Gonzales, when not in goal, will be up front and Moore could be there if needed.
The SlopeThe 4A Slope will be a challenge. Rifle and Glenwood figure to be the Huskies’ primary competition. Rifle (Oct. 6) on the road is always a tough game. Battle Mountain and Glenwood have tangled for years at the top of the league.Steamboat is down, but it doesn’t matter to both teams. Come Sept. 20 up north and Oct. 8 in Eagle-Vail, these will be big ones. Cope believes that Moffat is the sleeper in the league and that Eagle Valley could make some noise as well.”We’ve all got the confidence we can do it again,” Cole said. “We return a really strong crew, so I don’t think we’re afraid of any team we’re going to play. We’re all just confident that if we go out and do our best, we’ll be good.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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