Vail Valey preps: Battle Mountain closes out with Senior Night win
EDWARDS – Battle Mountain girls soccer won its final game of the season, which is usually a bad thing, which is kind of strange to say.
The Huskies win their season finale, 1-0, edging Moffat County on Senior Night, and there was much happiness for Battle Mountain on that count. What is strange is that Huskies are used to losing their final game because they usually make the playoffs, and the season ends there.
Battle Mountain (6-8-1 overall and 5-6-1) is not going to the postseason, and this is the first time since 1997 a David Cope-coached Huskies team has not qualified for the postseason, a simply stunning stat. (The school’s boys soccer team has made the playoffs the last 13 years and counting. Cope took over the girls’ program in 2004 and the ladies had qualified seven-straight times before this spring.)
But in the world of high-school sports where everything is cyclical, all good things must come to an end.
“The bar is so high that it doesn’t leave much margin for error for each team,” Cope said. “This group of seniors helped me to keep perspective. They kept things light. They kept things positive. They never turned bitter or sour. That’s what made it fun – to have a group of kids who genuinely enjoy being together.”
Battle Mountain was a very young team this spring, and it showed flashes of its promise numerous times, this year including on Friday night against the visiting Bulldogs. And that made the season-ending victory significant for the Huskies, especially the seniors.
“Honestly, it’s the best feeling we’ve had all season,” senior Rachel Edwards said. “You can end as a family. You end as a team and you feel on top of the world.”
“It was tough sometimes, but we never stopped fighting,” fellow senior Sydney Idzikowski said. “We always stuck together and I thought that was a really important aspect of our team. We never broke apart.”
Friday’s game was a microcosm of the season. Battle Mountain had multiple opportunities to put this one out of reach, but could convert on only one chance. After a scoreless first half, the Huskies opened the second 40 with Haille Hogfeldt sending a ball nicely to Pearl Nanin, who finished exquisitely.
“It was a fun, spirited game, characteristic of this team – a close game with our group never giving up until the end,” said Cope, who has his beloved Manchester United defeating Barcelona, 3-1, in the UEFA Champions League Final at the end of the month. “It’s been a fun group to coach.”
As is tradition, Cope started all seven of the team’s seniors – Lauren Kern, Idzikowski, Edwards, Emmy Young, Kim Newton, Netsy Villegas and Nanin. And the coach took each senior off the field, so they could get a curtain call from their teammates.
“I think this team has really high hopes,” Edwards said. “I think this team has such strong bonds outside of soccer, which is so important. They feel comfortable playing together. After a tough season, they know that they’re going to have to come in stronger than ever, so they’re going to do great.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moffat 0 0 – 0
Huskies 0 1 – 1
Scoring: Pearl Nanin, BM, (41′)