Huskies soccer postseason-bound
The seniors on the Battle Mountain girls soccer team have come full circle.
On Senior Day, the Huskies blanked Moffat, 5-0 – their eighth league shutout of the season – to clinch their first spot in the postseason since 2001, when this year’s seniors were freshmen.
“It’s awesome because we worked so hard, all of us together, for all of these years,” senior Brittany Peterson said. “Finally, in our senior year to make it that far again this year as we did freshman year is a great accomplishment. We have an awesome team this year. So, it’s great.”
“It’s the goal at the beginning of any season to try to qualify for the postseason because it’s fun to be involved in those games,” Huskies head coach David Cope said. “Fewer than half of the teams in the state qualify, so it’s a big deal. It’s something to take pride in. A lot of people said when our school moved up to 4A that we wouldn’t be able to compete in any sport. We just refused to believe that.”
Yes, the Huskies are back in the postseason and better than ever. The 2001 team had to qualify on the final day of the season for the 4A Slope’s third spot. This year’s edition (8-1 in the Slope and 8-3-1 overall) clinched with three games to play and can finish no worse than second in league, thus clinching a home playoff game during the first week in May.
And for Cope, it’s a unique double. He guided the boys to the postseason last fall and, in his maiden season as the girls’ coach, made it 2-for-2 on the year. Ironically, there is a common link between the two squads. Both got pounded in early preseason losses – the boys to Niwot and the girls to Fruita – and recovered to have excellent campaigns.
“The real similarity between booth groups of kids and I think it says a lot for both groups of kids is how they both suffered a big defeat early in the season,” Cope said. “That can set the tone for the whole season. A team can say, ‘We’re not going to take this seriously. We’re not going to care about it.’ Or a team can look at a result like that and say, ‘Hey, we’re better than that. Let’s improve.'”
Improve they have, and the Huskies showed it against Moffat. Twenty minutes into the first half, Heidi Lauterbach hooked up with Allison O’Neill for a 1-0 lead. In the second half, Lauterbach did it herself with a tremendous 34-yard shot which clipped underneath the crossbar.
The rout was on when the Christie Madison got a nice feed from Erika Ghent. The Huskies went up, 4-0, on an own goal, which was credited to Berkeley Chipman. Chipman then showed she can score a goal on her own, thank you. She got dragged down in the box and grounded her PK into the right corner of the net, finishing the scoring.
“It’s actually pretty good because it’s finally justice,” Chipman said. “You get, pardon my French, your rear end kicked in all the games and, finally, you get a penalty kick when you actually didn’t think you deserved it. Penalty kicks are easy, so it’s a lot of fun.”
It was a fitting final regular season home game for the Huskies. The seniors and their parents were honored during halftime.
“They’re a great group of kids. I was nervous coming in because the senior class, they’ve had some success in some various sports,” Cope said. “But, I didn’t how much they would allow me to take control of the program and how much they’d allow me to impose my playing style on them and make playing-time decisions. With a senior group with a coach, you don’t know how they’ll accept you. They’ve been awesome.”
Cope went on to praise each of his nine seniors individually. Suffice it to say that the coach is very proud of the Class of 2004 – Keegan Garnsey, Alison Baskins, Destia Day, Lauterbach, Lauren Arnold, Peterson, Jessica Havlik, Jhandery Acevedo and Teresa Sanchez.
Though the Huskies have clinched second place and a home playoff game, there’s more work to be done. The Huskies are at Rifle Saturday and then have Glenwood on the road May 1. Wins in those games could set up a league-title match at Steamboat on May 4.
Just for kicks
Garnsey got a scare in the first half when she was tripped up. She banged up her left knee, but the injury is not expected to be serious. Cope said that Garnsey will sit against Rifle to get nine days of rest for the Glenwood game. … Man of the Match went to Acevedo. “Jhandery’s a kid who doesn’t always get to play as much as she likes and she’s just so positive and always screaming and yelling and cheering the girls on,” Cope said. “That sets a tone for everybody else. It says, ‘You know what? This is more of being a part of a group than how many minutes I play. It’s more about a group coming together.'” … Another key to victory? The ball boy? “The difference between winning and losing was having a ball boy who could keep the ball in play,” Cope joked. “If we’d had a little less production out of our ball boy, we might not have been able to pull through.” And, if you believe that, I’ve got some ocean-front property in Montana for sale.