Battle Mountain wins fourth straight
Huskies defeat Demons 1-0 Saturday morning in Edwards
When it comes to crafting the non-conference calendar, there’s a method to Dave Cope’s madness. The only way to earn your stripes is to play tough teams.
“We’re pretty battle-tested,” Cope said about the result of the team’s early season battles with some tough Front Range teams.
“When we were 2-6, I told the girls, ‘we just gotta keep grinding and keep battling and before you know it, we’ll pull this thing back even,’ and here we are 6-6.”
The Battle Mountain girls soccer team defeated Glenwood Springs 1-0 Saturday morning in Edwards, improving their league record to 6-2, second best in the 4A Western Slope.
“Our league this year is really fun,” Cope said, noting that in their 12 games, eight have been decided by one goal, with the Huskies winning five of those.
“We gotta be proud of our resilience, persistence and grit. This group — even in the games that we lost, they never give up.”
Saturday’s first half was relatively non-eventful until Cope substituted right-foot dominant Avery Schaffler in on the left side of the field, “with the thought that she’d be able to cut inside and shoot with her right foot,” the coach described.
“It was kind of a perfect pass to where I was playing along the left side,” Schaffler said.
“Sometimes when you make a plan with an athlete, it works out,” Cope chuckled. “And that one worked out perfectly, so we were excited.”
Schaffler is an Alpine skier for SSCV who is hoping to ski at an EISA school in the future. Even though she missed a couple early-season games to finish up the ski racing season, Cope is thrilled to make a spot on the roster for her.
“It’s so good for kids to be multisport athletes in an era of increasing specializing,” he said.
“We’re just really glad that the people over there are encouraging her and supporting her to play multiple sports.”
Liz Keiser scored the game-winning double overtime goal Thursday against Summit. Keiser also plays basketball.
“We just feel like that keeps everyone well-rounded,” Cope stated of the multi-sport approach.
Schaffler’s goal was all the Huskies needed to preserve their fourth straight win, thanks to freshman Elle Glendinning’s play between the pipes.
“I think we’re really solid defensively and we weren’t letting too many opportunities on me and those ones that were coming through, I was able to stop them,” the goalie said.
“I feel like if we keep doing that we can do really well.”
Glendinning has noticed an increase in confidence and offensive assertiveness from the team throughout the year. For Schaffler, it’s been about communication.
“In the beginning, everyone was struggling to communicate with each other, but now I feel like we’re all just starting to click and being able to communicate as a whole versus just one-on-one,” Schaffler said.
“We all have realized that we need to use each other to be able to score, so it’s allowed us to have more shots on net and pressure the goalie and attack more offensively than defensively.”
League winners earn automatic postseason births, with RPI rankings determining the rest of the 32-team state field. Steamboat Springs (6-0) has a firm grasp on the 4A Western Slope League, leaving Eagle Valley (4-2-2) and Battle Mountain (6-2) fighting for their playoff lives.
“It could be that it’s between the two of us for a playoff spot,” Cope said about Tuesday’s rematch against the Devils.
“So, it’s going to be a huge game.”