Huskies soccer: The afterglow
Battle Mountain soccer coach David Cope has gone to the 4A bracket posted on CHSAA.com a few times to make sure. He’s probably not the only one. (I have.)
Welcome to the afterglow phase of the 2012 4A state champion Battle Mountain Huskies. Symptoms include, but not are entirely limited to, random smiling, laughing and giggling, shaking of the head in happy disbelief and the occasional bellowing of, “We really won the whole darn thing,” or “20-0.”
The laundry list:
• Bravo to Huskies Nation: One of many great quotes from Cope is, “We travel like Notre Dame.” It really wasn’t an exaggeration. The road matches at Evergreen, at Parker (Broomfield in the semis) and at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Palmer Ridge in the finals) were simply overrun by Battle Mountain fans.
At the final, you had fans who were an hour away at most from the site and then you had another group that was two hours away and had to deal with a whiteout. It was no contest. Don’t think that the team didn’t notice.
Alumna as well as former assistant coach Allie O’Neill wins the prize for flying in the farthest distance. She flew up from Costa Rica. Hazel and Alan Cope, the coach’s folks, were in from Pittsburgh. Former Huskies players Jose Pavon (New Orleans) and Bryan Aubel (San Diego) made the trip. Good to see former coach Hillary Fiveash (Park City, Utah). I also heatrd from Davey DeChant (Chicago) and Kyle More (Omaha, Neb.).
And that doesn’t include the world of Facebook, which just exploded. (Lots were watching on a webcast of the game. My favorite post, “Wow, Freud wearing a Giants jacket.”)
• It had to be snow, didn’t it? Ironically, the Huskies hadn’t had a snow game all year, though that rain in the first Summit game in Edwards felt like it.
• To Cope, bravo. The title is so deserved on so many levels. He’ll play it down, but he has built Huskies soccer into a model program, in which a “bad year” is 10 wins and an early playoff exit. He also did a tremendous job this year. It’s easy to say, “Of course, he had the players.”
Don’t forget that there was a lot of coming and going that accompanies any high school-aged team. The Huskies weathered it. Cope was also very good at setting goals within the season to keep the team on task. Yes, the Huskies were going to roll the Slope, regardless, but no league opponent got closer than two goals (Summit County).
• In this regard, soccer 2012 was a lot like the 2006 Battle Mountain volleyball team, which also won state. Both Huskies teams were dominant, but we just didn’t know until the end how good they really were. As it turned out, both teams beat the top-three ranked teams in Colorado at the state tournament.
• Best stat of the season? Battle Mountain allowed 11 goals (excluding the Evergreen and Palmer Ridge shootouts) in 20 games. Ninety-one goals scored is nice, downright explosive actually, but you probably aren’t losing too many games giving up roughly 0.5 goals per game.
• Weirdest stat? The most goals allowed in game was three – to Rifle. Battle Mountain had nine so it doesn’t matter, but that’s funny.
• Most astonishing stat? Yep, 20-0. That’s hard to do. Pro teams don’t do that. College teams in most sports don’t do that. (Baylor women’s hoops went 40-0 last year, but that was a Brittney Griner-sized exception.) Odds are a team is going to have a off day. Chances are good that you’re going to run into a team having a strong day. Athletes get sick. They get hurt. All of this happened to Battle Mountain and it still went 20-0.
• Cool stat that will embarrass Cope? On Oct. 21, 2005, the Huskies beat Steamboat for the coach’s 100th win. Since then, Cope’s record is 96-16-8. That’s an 80 percent winning clip over around eight years.
• Lost in the joy of finally beating Evergreen in the quarters and bringing home the trophy in the finals by downing Palmer Ridge was knocking off Broomfield. Those Eagles, along with Liberty, now a 5A squad, administered some big-time playoff beatings of the Huskies. Revenge is sweet. (Credit to DeChant on this point.)
• Bravo also to Kyle Mercer, longtime assistant coach. While there is no truth to the rumor that soccer officials throughout Colorado are giving him a going-away party, “Kyle’s last stand,” as it says on Battle Mountain gear, was a gargantuan one.
• OK, and now to vent – No. 6? Really, CHSAA. You people do realize that we have electricity and indoor plumbing out here on the Western Slope? Joe LyBarger is the only No. 6 which should ever be associated with this team. The Huskies adopted the company line of “This is better because we’ll face better competition in the playoffs,” but I call “Non-castrated bos taurus fecal matter” here.
No. 6 was a slap in the face for a team that was 15-0 at the time.
• In the wake of 20-0 and a state title, the Huskies have racked up a few awards. Read all about them in Friday’s Vail Daily.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.