Messi, Mbappe leads the Battle Mountain Huskies soccer over the Eagle Valley Devils |

Messi, Mbappe leads the Battle Mountain Huskies soccer over the Eagle Valley Devils

Battle Mountain's Drew Keiser heads the ball against Eagle Valley on Tuesday, Aug. 28, in Gypsum. Keiser helped set up the Huskies' second goal during Battle Mountain's 5-0 win over the Devils.
Chris Dillmann |

GYPSUM — Messi scored twice and Mbappe added another and Battle Mountain soccer was off to races in a 5-0 victory over Eagle Valley on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at Gypsum’s John Ramunno Field.

And, no, Huskies coach David Cope hasn’t been shelling out Euros in the transfer market.

Before moving up to Battle Mountain varsity, Jose Soto once had a Lionel Messi-like haircut, so the moniker stuck. When sophomore Louis Castillo showed up at voluntary practices this summer, he earned the Kylian Mbappe tag.

“I’m just regular Dutch, I guess” Battle Mountain’s Dutch Schroeder joked about his lack of an international soccer nickname.

Whatever you call them, the Huskies had a good go of it on Tuesday at Ramunno Field, a pitch of problems in the past for the three-time defending 4A Slope champions.

“I would say it was Mbappe’s World Cup more than Messi’s, but today was Messi’s game more than Mbappe, but they both scored,” Cope joked.

Eagle Valley had won three of the past four meetings between the two teams in their Gypsum fixture, coming into Tuesday.

“It’s always a good win to beat Eagle Valley (in Gypsum),” Schroeder said. “We’ve struggled here in the past. It was good to get some goals on the board.”

Bounce back

Battle Mountain (2-1 overall and 1-0 in the Slope) was coming off a tough loss to a quality opponent at Durango on Saturday, Aug. 25. The Demons earned a 3-2 win over the Huskies with a header in the final minute of extra time.

Could the Huskies, a talented team, but not one with much varsity experience, rebound from a brutal loss? Apparently so.

“You don’t know how they’re going to react, so there was some trepidation coming off the loss,” Cope said.

“It was really important for our win-loss-record, so we can be one of the top seeds for the playoffs this year,” Soto said. “We talked about it in practice. We knew we had to do better this game.”

The Huskies may have only played three games and have a new cast of characters, but the expectation apparently remains the same — a deep run in the postseason.

Battle Mountain dominated from the start, especially in the midfield. Messi and Mbappe were the beneficiaries on the first three goals.

Soto jumped all over a rebound from a Dani Barajas free kick for a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute. Castillo struck five minutes later off a corner kick from Drew Keiser.

The onslaught continued in the second half as both Soto and Ivan Solis converted penalties.

He may just be “regular” Dutch, but Schroeder was a part of the highlight-reel goal of the night as Barajas got to the end line and made a cut toward the goal. Feathering a beautiful pass, Barajas set up Schroeder perfectly.

Early days

Battle Mountain’s played three games, while the Devils just finished their second contest. That would prompt the perfunctory warning not to jump to judgment after such a small sample size.

That’s particularly apropos with regard to Eagle Valley, with coach Maggie Sherman in her first season in charge of the boys’ team.

“This year is all about team culture and building that chemistry, and we didn’t have that today,” Sherman said. “Whatever happened on the soccer field happened. I care more about who’s here supporting each other. Who’s participating? It’s not just the game. Are they a part of the team and wanting the whole group to get better? We are lacking in that and we’re going to keep working on that.”

Eagle Valley hits the road for Rifle on Thursday, Aug. 30.

Meanwhile, Battle Mountain is playing a foundation game on Friday, Aug. 31. The foundation game is a new CHSAA rule, allowing teams to play a 16th match with the result having no bearing on a squad’s rating-percentage index (RPI).

Ergo, the Huskies and the Vail Mountain School will renew acquaintances in what is essentially a friendly in Edwards. Kickoff on Friday is at 6 p.m.

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