Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley could meet in 4A soccer playoffs
Valley rivals both open playoffs with home games Thursday; VMS set to play Wednesday
Dave Cope would have loved a top-four seed, but he’s also partial to the number 6.
That’s the seed Battle Mountain’s boys soccer team had in 2012 when the Huskies won it all in Class 4A.
“It would have been nice to be top four, and in the RPI we were ahead of Durango, but Durango beat us,” Cope said. “Wins take precedent over everything else.”
So, no complaints from the head coach after this team earned the sixth seed in this year’s 32-team 4A bracket, which was released on Monday. And, for added intrigue, the Huskies could face their downvalley rivals at Eagle Valley for a third time if both teams advance out of their first-round games Thursday.
Cope has been coaching both the girls and boys at Battle Mountain for 30 years. In all that time, he said the only time the Huskies faced a Western Slope rival in the playoffs was in 2015, when the Huskies girls knocked off Steamboat Springs in overtime. His daughter had the game-winning assist.
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The Huskies open with the Glenwood Springs Demons at home under the lights on Thursday night at 6 p.m, a team they routed 5-1 in an earlier meeting on Oct. 18. The Devils, seeded No. 11, face No. 22 Northridge at home in Gypsum at the exact same time.
If both teams advance, they’d face off Nov. 2 in Edwards. The Huskies won both regular season meetings, which included a 2-0 win on Oct. 7 to snap the Devils’ four-game win streak.
The Devils then dropped their final two games of the regular season, first to Vail Mountain School and then rival Summit at home, 3-2, after running out to a two-goal lead.
As for VMS, the Gore Rangers played up in the 4A Western Slope this season to cut down on travel — which paid off with a No. 8 seed in the 3A bracket released Monday. The Gore Rangers, who finished the year at 8-5-2 overall, will be in orange at home on Wednesday against No. 25 St. Mary’s (8-7).
While it’s hard not to look ahead to a possible rivalry rematch with Eagle Valley, Cope said his team is focused entirely on Glenwood Springs.
“Our track record suggests that we better focus one game at a time,” he said. “We need to make sure that we take care of business against Glenwood. We come in with a fair degree of confidence, but it’s a near certainty that this game will be closer than that first game. We spent some time today talking about confidence versus arrogance, cocky versus prepared and some of the things that we need to think about. The first round is where the most stress is.”