Perfect 10: Battle Mountain edges Eagle Valley
Huskies win, 2-0
EDWARDS — First of all, this was the weather everyone expected when CHSAA announced that boys soccer was moving to the spring.
Rain? Got it.
Cold as heck? Yep.
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And, despite all that, Battle Mountain completed the regular season with a 2-0 victory for a perfect 10-0 record in what was a superbly-played game.
The Huskies will be home on Wednesday for the first round of the playoffs. The opponent and time need to be determined.
“I’m pretty grateful,” Huskies goalie Uli Tellez “We were not sure we were going to have a season. It makes us feel good to share this wonderful time together. A lot of people don’t get to experience this in sports or as a family. This is a pretty special thing.”
Eagle Valley will wrap the season on Saturday against Summit at John Ramunno Field with a shot to finish at 5-5, which would be no small accomplishment after a 5-10 full campaign in 2019.
Yes, the Huskies got the three points, but Eagle Valley showed the league, the Huskies and the Devils’ faithful that the Gypsum 11 is on the rise.
Thursday was easily Battle Mountain’s hardest of the season. The Huskies’ closest contest to date had been the second Glenwood Springs win, 3-0.
Battle Mountain’s eight other wins were by five goals or more.
“This is us coming to play,” Devils coach Andrew Wheeler said. “I’ve lost on this field with [former Devils head coach] Maggie [Sherman] 10-0. I know what that feels like. Our first game [this season] was 5-0. We understand Battle Mountain is the measuring stick.”
And the Devils measured up well. The Huskies and Devils were in a scoreless tie at halftime, making the Senior Night ceremonies a little uncomfortable for Battle Mountain.
“This season we haven’t had a problem scoring multiple goals going into halftime,” Huskies junior Ivan “Tommy” Solis said. “We didn’t enjoy our Senior Night as much. As soon as we scored our first goal, you could feel the energy go up.”
What was interesting is that Eagle Valley did have a good game plan for Battle Mountain — be stout defensively and look for the counter. The Devils did have a chance or three for that counter to get out of Dodge with a 1-0 upset.
Eagle Valley is just young right now up front and couldn’t quite take those opportunities and turn them into productive chances. That will change — in as soon as four months when next year starts.
The Huskies did get going in the second half. Of all the seniors, one would expect to go off on Senior Night, it was a nice touch that Braulio Aguayo was in on both goals.
He fed Kevin Chavez in the 42nd minute and scored the insurance goal late.
It was a long halftime as Battle Mountain honored its 11 seniors.
Aguayo, Ulisses Carbajal, Louis Castillo, Chavez, Andore Horruitiner, Miles Jarnot, Josh Keiser, Joey Leonardo, Owen MacFarlane, Jonathon Munoz and Uli Tellez all took their bows for the Huskies.
However, the team wasn’t done. The Huskies surprised Cope with a signed soccer ball and a plaque to commemorate the 300th win of his career, achieved earlier this month against Glenwood Springs.
“It was great seeing the boys from past teams,” Cope said of alumni Jack Sunderland, Joe LyBarger, Heivan Garcia and Broby Leeds, who visited after the game. “I was thinking about this. If I won one game per year, it would take 300 years to do this. I don’t have that type of time.”
While Cope was appreciative of the tribute, his brain is already on to the playoffs. Since one of Cope’s jobs was to proctor standardized testing on Thursday, he did his job and a little free-form work.
By that we mean, Cope broke down around the top 25 teams in 4A by all three ranking systems and formed his 16-team bracket for the playoffs. (We will compare his bracket only after the draw is issued.)
Cope said that he expects to be in the top four — Battle Mountain was No. 3 in rating-percentage index, first in Maxpreps.com and third in the coaches’ poll going into Thursday’s game — and he should get his wish.
While the seeds come out Sunday, one thing to watch is geographical proximity. With COVID, CHSAA is trying to limit travel, even in the postseason.
Montrose is the 4A representative of the Southwest Conference in the postseason, and that is as geographically close as Battle Mountain is going to get. Don’t be surprised if the Huskies see the Indians Wednesday.