It’s all-league soccer and some commentary |

It’s all-league soccer and some commentary

Battle Mountain's Miles Joersz (5) is the 4A Slope's Player of the Year for having anchored the Huskies defense and leading his team to the state-title game.
Chris Dillmann | |

All-League Soccer

4A Slope

First team

Juan Garduno, Eagle Valley

Miles Joersz, Battle Mountain

Juan Macias, Battle Mountain

Edgar Palacios, Eagle Valley

Brandon Rodriguez, Battle Mountain

Alan Villegas, Battle Mountain

Honorable mention

Carlos Chavez, Eagle Valley

Jake Daigle, Eagle Valley

Creek Kamby, Battle Mountain

Tony Velasco, Battle Mountain

Player of the Year

Miles Joersz, Battle Mountain

Coach of the Year

David Cope, Battle Mountain

3A Slope

First team

Peter Ferraro, Vail Mountain

Kevin Garcia, Vail Mountain

Honorable mention

Liam Hurley, Vail Mountain

Eric Zdechlik, Vail Mountain

Player of the Year

Kevin Garcia, Vail Mountain

Eagle County soccer lived up to the hype this year.

We had a state finalist, a state quarterfinalist, and a team that beat a state finalist.

This ho-hum season is just beginning to be acknowledged as the 4A and 3A Slope all-league honors are submitted for your consideration.

Battle Mountain

Overview: Doubtless, we were all hoping for a little 2012 magic on Saturday against The Classical Academy in the 4A state-title game, and it didn’t happen. Tip your cap to the Titans and, move on.

The bigger story for this fall is the following: Before Saturday’s state-title game Huskies coach David Cope greeted me and asked, “Did you ever think we would get back here?” Both our responses were no.

This team outdid itself in the expectations department. That’s what you remember, gents — getting off the deck after the Eagle Valley loss, and winning the Slope, winning 13 in a row after the first go-round with TCA and the playoff run.

Yes, I’m going to beat to death the “sports is an extension of the classroom” theme. Life has a way of punching you in the mouth in a way bigger than a disheartening loss in a state-championship game. It’s all about how you respond. You guys learned more than soccer this fall.

The awards: I love that a center back, Miles Joersz, gets Slope Player of the Year. The glue of the squad got the nod here for that award rightly. Same goes for Brandon Rodriguez and all-league. … Juan Macias, Alan Villegas and Tony Velasco are all juniors. Happy days are ahead. With Macias, do we dare invoke the name of Edgar Hernandez? … Cody Bahan. Finally nailed it.

Quibbles: OK, it’s major outrage. Why is Creek Kamby only an honorable mention? I normally try to get Creek not to argue when he’s playing, so let me take it.

Kamby had a season that could have gone either way. He was on the edge of disappearing all together midway through the regular season, and then the switch turned on. It is not a coincidence that when Kamby got rolling, so did the Huskies.

And why isn’t Taylor Staughton on this list?

Favorite moment: The 2-0 comeback to D’Evelyn will be the one for most, but I go with Pueblo West. That was an encapsulation of the season — it didn’t come easily, but the Huskies kept playing their game until the goals came. Extra points are added for Cope going political in postgame.

Vail Mountain

Overview: Before Battle Mountain’s state title game, I ran into most of this team, and it was not lost on any of us that Jefferson Academy, a team the Gore Rangers handily beat, had just taken Kent Denver to penalty kicks.

Frugnuts, as we would say in the old country.

The greatest upset in VMS soccer history was a 3-1 win against Colorado Academy back in 2000. The reason we bring that up is sometimes you’re on the wrong end of that fairy tale, which is what happened with the 2-0 loss to Colorado Springs Christian.

We’re going to have to live with the fact that there was no Kent Denver rematch. Yes, at the 30th reunion, that’ll still hack these guys off. If that’s the worst thing that’s happened in their lives, they will all have lived blessed lives.

Awards: No kidding, Kevin Garcia, Peter Ferraro, Eric Zdechlik and Liam Hurley are outstanding players. I still don’t get the ponytails, Peter and Liam.

Quibbles: How in the wide, wide world of sports is Zdechlik only an honorable mention? The answer to that question is that VMS finished third in the Slope, as opposed to rating-percentage index, and only got two all-league spots.

But were the coaches of the 3A Slope actually watching the games? You might have noticed that VMS had a tendency to go through the left side? Come on, people. It’s your job to watch these games.

Somebody from the defense of Robby Gruber, Bridger Gile and Max Bervy needs to be on the honor roll as well. I can’t pick one, but one needs to be there — they allowed 14 goals in 18 games, which is kinda good.

Favorite memory: The Delta games are the easy pick. We don’t do easy here. Remember the Roaring Fork game last year? Ferraro was golden against the Rams back on Sept. 17, 2015, which overshadowed the fact that Michael Resnick had made a mistake on defense, which allowed the Rams to equalize. The kid was beside himself, and didn’t want to join the huddle even after the Gore Rangers had won.

Fast-forward to this year, and Resi saved the team on defense when others were out. He continued to play significant minutes off the bench as the playoffs happened. You grew up, kid. Well done.

Eagle Valley

Overview: The Devils didn’t make the postseason and their record went from 12-4 to 8-7. Some numbers don’t tell the truth. The question for the Eagle Valley was whether 2015 was a one-off or the start of trend?

It does seem like the latter. Six of those seven losses were by one goal. Given the amount of turnover from 2015 to 2016, Eagle Valley is building a program to last.

The challenge is to find consistency — the Devils are most dangerous against Steamboat Springs and Battle Mountain, which is terrific. They can play with the best in the league. How in the world they only beat Rifle, 2-1, in OT is a problem.

The bar is higher in Gypsum, and that’s a good thing.

The awards: A Palacios must always be on an all-league team for Eagle Valley. That’s a rule. Congrats, Edgar. … Quick trivia: Who led the Slope in assists? Juan Garduno (21). … Shout out to Jake Daigle. This is an astute pick by the coaches, who were watching.

Quibbles: Carlos Chavez deserves better than honorable mention. The guy was clutch.

Favorite memory: OK, this one’s no contest … Alex Torres scores in OT to beat the Huskies, who end up going to the state final. Not only was that a great moment, but it shows how close Eagle Valley is as a program. Is it next year yet?

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, and @cfreud.

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