Huskies soccer topples No. 1 Evergreen, 3-0
EDWARDS — Call it an interesting choice for postgame music after Battle Mountain soccer faced No. 1-ranked Evergreen in Edwards on Thursday night.
Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me,” played after the Huskies scored their biggest win of the season, a 3-0 victory against the Cougars. Perhaps, a musical reminder to the 4A Slope and the rest of the state?
“Evergreen came in No. 1 and we said from the beginning, we beat them last year,” Huskies keeper Jack Skidmore said. “We’re a better team than we were last year. If we come out and play our game, we can play with any team in the state, and we showed that.”
Gotta be Creek
If it’s Evergreen, then it’s apparently got to be Creek Kamby. He scored the lone tally in last year’s game between the two teams. This go-round, he crushed home a great feed from Brandon Rodriguez in the second minute of the game for a 1-0 lead.
An early first goal is always big, particularly for the Huskies, who in past years against elite teams have had a tendency to be awed of their opponent.
Not this time.
“The motto before the game was ‘No Retreat, No Surrender.’ I don’t know if I should be motivating kids with 30-year-old lyrics,” Huskies coach David Cope joked, apparently channeling his inner Bruce Springsteen. “We’re not going to sit back and limit the damage. We’re going to try to score a goal and if we score a goal, maybe something’s on. At halftime, we said we don’t try to protect this. We try for a second and a third.”
It’s important to note that this was not one of those games where the underdogs score early and hang on for dear life. The Huskies and Cougars were trading scoring opportunities.
And that brought the spotlight to Skidmore.
“A lot of people see a shutout and say the keeper must have done a fantastic job,” Skidmore said. “This team in front of me was phenomenal. I didn’t have to do too much. They left me with a few shots to take care of. Those guys were great.”
Yes, the defense was excellent, but Skidmore was sensational. Big games require big goalies, as the Battle Mountain-Evergreen series has shown. Skidmore finished the evening with eight saves.
With nine minutes to go, Evergreen pulled a defender to add an attacker, a common practice when trailing by a goal. True to Cope’s word, though, the Huskies kept pressing and were able to finish off Evergreen.
Juan Macias made a superb run down the right side and crossed it. Kamby almost got a foot on it, but Tony Velasco was there and put it home.
The Battle Mountain bench was sensing the win and that mood turned to delirium when Taylor Staughton struck in short order.
“That was a big, big win for our group in a lot of ways,” Cope said. “You see three goals by three different guys, quality goals all three of them. We were working on what we do best, getting the ball to the line and working it back. Evergreen’s a good team. That’s not a 3-0 game. It turns into a 3-0 game because they have to take risks at the end to try to tie it up. Evergreen’s a very good team.”
And was a wrap for big week for Battle Mountain (9-2 overall and 7-1 in the 4A Slope). Not only did the Huskies record a big win for postseason seeding, but it sets the table for the conference race.
The Huskies head to Summit County on Tuesday, while Eagle Valley hosts Steamboat Springs in the first leg of what amounts to a round robin for the league title. Eagle Valley is at Battle Mountain on Thursday and then the Sailors visit the Huskies on Oct. 22, all games with title implications.
Organizer Rob Simon: It’s such a steep and notorious climb, you’re hitting grades of up to 14 percent, so that’s going to be an intense climb that’s going to …