Battle Mountain girls soccer makes it rain
Huskies defeat Eagle Valley 3-0 in Tuesday night’s rainstorm
The clouds warned of an impending storm. When nature’s floodgates opened up, so did the Battle Mountain girls soccer team’s offense.
Goals from juniors Cassie Ledezma and Fiona Lloyd and senior Liz Keiser propelled the Huskies to a 3-0 win over their rivals from Eagle Valley in a key late-season league battle.
As expected with two evenly matched squads squaring off with potential playoff implications on the line, things were back and forth in the early going. With both teams jostling for momentum and possession, the first major opportunity didn’t come until 27:19 when Eagle Valley’s Sophie Webster escaped along the sideline.
Her shot from the wing was scooped up by Elle Glendinning, but the Devils’ speed from the midfield provided several more opportunistic sequences. A few minutes later, Tatum Coe faked a header and let the ball roll off her back for a nifty pass to Addison Mandeville cutting behind her. Mandeville ripped a timing route pass to Webster down the left sideline again, but the play was ultimately fruitless.
Early in the first half, it appeared the visitors had more energy. Battle Mountain got the ball down the sidelines multiple times in the first half, but was unable execute centering passes and settled for a few long shots from the corner.
At 15:20, things changed. The Huskies had a breakaway opportunity that turned into a race between Avery Schaffler and Eagle Valley goalie Jaquelyn Castellon. Castellon slid into the ball, knocking it back. She recovered quickly, blocking away another Husky shot on goal.
When the dark cloud of Tuesday night’s storm finally descended upon the field, the downpour from the sky was the cue for Dave Cope’s team to make it rain offensively.
“We just started connecting passes and working together as a team,” said Keiser.
A beautiful pass from Reagan McAdams to Fiona Lloyd at 6:12 led to a wonderful scoring chance, but Castellon was there to wrap up the shot. At 2:30, Cassie Ledezma punched in a shot from the inside right wing, but Castellon’s two-handed block deflected the ball away.
Sydney Stygar got two chances in the last minute, the second coming off a perfectly placed corner kick from Keiser, Cope’s “Swiss Army Knife” of the team — a nickname revealed during the senior night ceremony — which sailed 10 inches over the crossbar. The half couldn’t end soon enough for the Devils, who were struggling to clear it past midfield, but at the horn it was knotted up at 0-0.
In the second half, the Huskies knocked on the door some more, and at the 36:29, they finally delivered the pizza.
Monica Duran made the key first pass to Lloyd, who’s touch pass to Ledezma was too quick for Castellon to recover into place, leading to the first goal of the night.
Just eight minutes later, Lloyd rebounded a shot off of Castellon, who fell to the ground, knocking in another score for a 2-0 lead. Keiser converted on a penalty kick at 13:36 to seal the deal.
“We just finally put it all together — it was one of our best halves of the season,” Keiser described as she shivered from the sleet mixture which fell in the game’s final moments.
The loss was the first defeat for the Devils since falling to Steamboat Springs on March 24. Eagle Valley fell to 7-4-2. Jess Platt’s crew finishes the regular season by hosting Grand Junction Central on Wednesday and the Sailors on Saturday.
The Huskies (7-6) travel to Steamboat Springs on Thursday before finishing with a non-league matchup against The Classical Academy on Saturday. Currently, the Sailors are 7-0 in league play, meaning they would have to fall to both Valley teams to give the Huskies a share of the league crown.
“I think we just have to play how we played tonight,” said Keiser in regards to hanging with the top team in the league.
“I think they should be afraid of us — we’re playing super well towards the end of the season.”