Vail Valley preps: Battle Mountain soccer sneaks past Eagle Valley
GYPSUM – Battle Mountain soccer’s David Cope told his team after beating Steamboat Springs on Tuesday that every future game was for a league championship.Little did he and the Huskies know that would come true so soon.Battle Mountain escaped Gypsum and rival Eagle Valley by the narrowest of margins with a 4-1 win Wednesday. While Katie Harrison’s two goals in stoppage time were doubtless appreciated by those in road black, this was essentially a 2-1 game with deciding goal coming in the 78th minute from Battle Mountain’s Haille Hogfeldt.In short, it was a very big step for Eagle Valley (0-4) and an equally-large sigh of relief for Battle Mountain (4-0).”For the program we are, it’s the best game we ever played,” Devils coach Francois Nanin said. “Now they know they can play with anybody. So they don’t have to feel like ‘We’re going to lose like we used to.’ We know they’re the best program this year, so it’s awesome.”Both coaches acknowledged that Battle Mountain was coming off playing Steamboat Springs Tuesday, but as Battle Mountain coach David Cope said, “I don’t want to take away form Eagle Valley’s effort.””I thought those girls did really well,” he said. “It was one of those things where for 78 minutes there was nothing between the teams.”Battle Mountain had most of the chances throughout the game, but the Devils’ defense stymied the Huskies for 50 minutes. Eagle Valley goalie Blanca Gonzalez put in a stellar day.”Blanca is a junior and she really has developed,” Nanin said. “She’s going to be the goalie for the rest of the season. She’s a great midfielder, but she’s right there in goal.”Hogfeldt finally cracked Eagle Valley in 53rd, thanks to a good run by freshman Ali O’Brien. And this is where the Devils, in the past, would likely start to fray. Instead, just minutes later, Eagle Valley’s Pearl Nanin sped down the right side and put a laser into the Huskies’ net for the equalizer.”Our idea was not playing like an Italian team. Our idea was to play everyone on the field and attack,” Francois Nanin said. “The only way for us to defend was to attack. They’re a very dangerous team. A team like this, you cannot wait for them. You must attack them.”The Huskies were clearly not satisfied with a tie – a draw would essentially forfeit the benefits of beating Steamboat Tuesday – and started sending just about everyone except Anna Tedstrom forward. Gonzalez made a beautiful sprawling save at point-blank range against Hogfeldt in the 61st, but the latter got her second in the 78th, courtesy of Maddie LyBarger, so that the Huskies could escape with three points.”I think we came in and we were tired a bit from yesterday and Steamboat,” Hogfeldt said. “We came in and were frustrated. It just shows that if we stay patient, we’ll come through.””There was always bound to be a little bit of letdown after Steamboat,” Cope said. “We invested so much physical and emotional energy, so much of ourselves into that game, that today was going to be difficult. The thing we’re proud of our team for was that they handled a little bit of adversity and a little bit of crisis and they stayed calm.”Eagle Valley hosts Summit County today at 4 p.m., while Battle Mountain heads to Rifle.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.