No 1. Liberty downs Battle Mountain
COLORADO SPRINGS – It was a day for perspective for the Battle Mountain soccer team in Round 2 of the 4A state soccer playoffs.On a day when No. 1 Liberty ended Battle Mountain’s season by a count of 4-0, the Huskies had their finest moment of an incredible season.While cheering on the Battle Mountain cross country team earlier in the day, starting goalie Joel Gonzales had a seizure. He was rushed to a local hospital, where he had a cat scan. He was released, although the cause of the seizure is unknown.
Battle Mountain took to the field hours later, obviously concerned about their teammate. “Joel’s episode put it in perspective,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “In a way, they care more about each other than winning. It had to (have affected them). I was literally getting updates from the hospital during introductions. Evie (Everado Gonzales, Joel’s brother) was out in the parking lot helping his mom get directions to the hospital. It was a pretty dramatic scene. He played a great game. You’re not human if you weren’t thinking about it.”Nevertheless, the Huskies really pushed the Lancers for the first 30 minutes of play. Dane Jacobs and Andy Banner had chances and Edgar Hernandez hit the post against Liberty, who’s beaten 5A No. 1 Grandview, 5A Lewis Palmer and Air Academy among other teams.
“We did exceptionally well for a half an hour,” Cope said. “Their coach said to us after the game that that’s the most pressure they’ve faced all season. That’s a very strong statement from a coach we’ve gotten to know.”Kyle Shafer, Max Light, Joel Trainer and Brian Bjork scored for Liberty.There was still a little bitterness that this game came in Round 2 of the playoffs because of Battle Mountain’s low seeding.
“This is the best Battle Mountain soccer team ever,” Cope said. “It’s just a shame that we were playing them that early (in the playoffs). We tried to put a positive spin on the seeding, but this should have been an eight-versus-one game. Great for Summit (ranked No. 13), but Summit went 9-3-3 and we were 13-2. We beat them and that warranted a higher seed.”The Huskies have a ton of positives on which to look back. The Huskies went 14-3. They won their first league title since 1992. Banner set the boys’ scoring mark with 23 goals. The Huskies swept archrivals, Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs. Battle Mountain won its first 4A state playoff game earlier in the week against Ranum in convincing fashion.”It was great the way they handled themselves with dignity, even in defeat today,” Cope said. “The way that they handled adversity with injuries was impressive. At the end of the game, we lined up the seniors on one side and the rest of the team on the other. We said, ‘Hey look at these guys. This is the best senior class we’ve ever had. They’ve accomplished more than anyone else.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail Colorado
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