Battle Mountain Huskies squeak by Summit County Tigers, 2-1
EDWARDS — Battle Mountain soccer is pretty glad to have Summit County in the rear-view mirror.
The Huskies had to erase a 1-0 first-half deficit and hang on for a 2-1 win over the Tigers on Tuesday, Oct. 3, in Edwards to stay perfect in the 4A Slope action.
Battle Mountain overcame an Evan Wolfson goal with a sensational tally by Jesus Dozal and an own goal in the second half that went to Jorge Membreno.
“It’s a good win,” Membreno said. “We’re trying to get three points. Now our next job is beating Eagle Valley, another league game and rivalry game.”
The business-like approach seems to be working for the Huskies (7-0 in the Slope). They’re two games ahead of Steamboat Springs and three or more in front of the rest of the pack.
“Battle Mountain’s a great team. It went back and forth,” Summit coach Tommy Gogolen said. “They play hard. They play good, disciplined soccer. I hate to say this. They probably deserved it. I could have gone either way. I wish them luck moving forward.”
Not that anyone is looking, but Battle Mountain (7-2 overall) was No. 12 in the rating-percentage index, heading into Tuesday’s game, while Summit was No. 45. Thirty-two teams make the playoffs.
Tight first half
When the two teams met last month, Battle Mountain raced out to a 4-0 first half lead on the way to a 4-3 win. Round 2 was much, more competitive.
Wolfson helped Summit take the lead off a corner kick rambling within the box. The junior slotted it just past Huskies goalie Alan Villegas for a 1-0 in the 24th minute.
“From that point, it’s a great challenge for us,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “We’re going to be down and face adversity in the playoffs. It was good for us to be in that position with 60 minutes to go.”
Juan Macias to Dozal, somehow, some way was the equalizer Dozal came down the left side and seemingly had an impossible angle to the net. His shot, though, caught the right post and then the panel.
“I just wanted to get the ball off my foot,” Dozal said. “It went in. I looked up and saw the ball go in.”
While Dozal was recounting the play after the game, Cope jokingly yelled, “Why the heck did you shoot that?”
In all seriousness, Cope said, “I thought it was one of the best goals I’ve seen a high school kid score.”
If there was any downside to this contest, an own goal decided it. Membreno fired a cross into the box in the second half. His pass deflected off a Summit defender and past Tigers keeper Kyle Wertz.
“Kyle Wertz is a really, really good goalie,” Cope said. “We got a sensational goal and an own goal. That shows how good he is. He made some sensational saves.”
And now, Battle Mountain heads to Gypsum for Round 2 of its rivalry with Eagle Valley on Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.
The last three years, Eagle Valley has beaten the Huskies at John Ramunno Field. Be it a thinner pitch and/or a fired up Devils team, Battle Mountain has problems there.
“Like (assistant coach) Ali (Bender) said, composure is a big thing,” Membreno said. “We need to stick together and keep our heads up.”
“For us, it’s another three points on the road we need,” Cope said. “It’s a business trip.”
Summit hosts Rifle on Thursday, Oct. 5.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.