Undefeated Devils, Huskies meet Tuesday
If you didn’t think Battle Mountain soccer at Eagle Valley Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Gypsum was going to be big, here you go from Saturday:
Devils 3, Golden 0.
With 80 minutes of soccer, Eagle Valley officially joined the Western Slope’s elite. (If you watched too much of the Republican National Convention last week, I’m using elite in the good sense.)
For those Battle Mountain fans who think Eagle Valley just lets Cesar Castillo score at will and that the Devils play lower-tiered competition like Middle Park and Coal Ridge, be quiet right now.
Eagle Valley is for real.
With the caveat that neither side can forget about Steamboat Springs when it comes to the Slope title chase, here are some things to look for today.
– Eagle Valley, you need to get down off the high of beating Golden. Yes, it is unquestionably the Devils’ biggest win since Ryan Dee and the Devils made it to the second round of the 3A playoffs back in the late 1990s, but that just got Battle Mountain’s attention big time.
Today’s a new day and it doesn’t matter anymore what you did 72 hours ago.
– With Eagle Valley’s win over Golden, Battle Mountain enters today’s game as more of an unknown quantity. Yes, the pedigree is there with four titles, but Golden took over the second half against the Huskies in Round 2 of the playoffs and won, 3-1, last fall.
Beating Summit in soccer is the norm in Eagle-Vail. Yes, the Huskies beat the snot out of Palisade, but who isn’t going to this year? Battle Mountain’s win at Moffat was good, but very much expected. Showtime, boys.
– Hail, Cesar: Cesar Castillo has 13 goals already this season. Last year, he established that he could score against the league’s elite. We’ll just go on the assumption that he’ll get at least one today. I’m not making a prediction, but I’m pretty sure that this is not going to be a 1-0 game in favor of either side, so someone else has got to score for the Devils because Battle Mountain’s going to make sure Castillo doesn’t go off to the tune of four or five goals.
Battle Mountain statistically has the advantage in scoring diversity with the likes of Davy DeChant, Brian Morales, Sergio Sifuentes and so on.
– The Marcos: We’ve got Eagle Valley’s Marco Escobar ” sounds strange ” and Battle Mountain’s Marco Ordono. Escobar faces his former teammates for the first time. He, along with his brothers, could be the aforementioned Devils to balance out Castillo. As for Ordono, he draws the honor of trying to cover Castillo.
– Grayson vs. Hervert: OK, I know goalies don’t play directly against each other, but it’s fun to do. The Devils’ Trevor Grayson and the Huskies’ Clint Hervert could have taken their respective Palisade games off and still got a shutout. It’s going to be nice to see them tested today.
Grayson usually gets lost in the shuffle because it’s “Cesar this and Cesar that.” The kid’s good. Most forget about Hervert because goalies on four-time league champions just don’t get attention. Hervert can be clutch as we saw all last year. Who’s going to be the one with the save we remember?
– Latecomers: As is usually the case, both teams’ rosters are finally coming into shape after assorted eligibility issues are resolved. Jair Molina makes his debut today for Battle Mountain, and he likely hasn’t lost his nose for the net. Eagle Valley’s David Shea, who came back Saturday, proved he didn’t.
– Defense: He’s quiet, but he’s a gamer. His name is Connor Tedstrom. And he leads a solid unit for Battle Mountain. The same can be said of Steve White and company in Gypsum.
– Coaching: OK, on quote-ability, Battle Mountain’s David Cope wins in a landslide. Sorry to Jason Rittmiller, but you’re out of your league here. As for actually coaching, an interesting match-up. Cope obviously has the big-game edge here, but don’t underestimate Rittmiller. His crew has quietly been going about business, saying the right things, and not putting up bulletin-board material, the sign of a disciplined team.
– Intangibles: Battle Mountain has the experience for this situation. Then again, the Huskies had a nasty habit last year of overlooking teams last year (See the loss to Montrose.) Then again, the Devils may blissfully ignorant of the situation and just play. Or they’re just sick and tired of Battle Mountain winning these games every year. Eagle Valley last beat the Huskies in 1999 with the aforementioned Ryan Dee.
One thing which always holds true for a big game like this is that the key moments fall on someone you never expect. In the 2000 state quarterfinals, it wasn’t Slade Cogswell ” the equivalent of a Castillo or DeChant ” scoring. It was Danny MacIntosh and Oscar Alcantar of all people giving Vail Mountain a 2-0 lead on the way to a 3-1 upset of No. 1 Colorado Academy. Who’s it going to be today?