Vail Valley preps: Huskies blank Steamboat, 3-0
EDWARDS – Battle Mountain soccer capped a fantastic week with a 3-0 win against Steamboat Springs in Edwards Saturday afternoon. Having beating Eagle Valley, 4-1, on Tuesday, the Huskies got their vengeance against the two squads that deprived them of a league title las fall.
For Steamboat, it was the end of a difficult three days, having bowed to fast-emerging Moffat County, 5-0, and then losing to its traditional southern rivals.
But as is pretty much always the case in 4A Slope soccer, this is just the beginning for the Huskies and Sailors, who have won seven of the last 10 league titles.
Battle Mountain (4-0 overall and 3-0 in league) hosts the aforementioned Bulldogs on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in what is shaping up as a very big game. Moffat hung a 12-4 score on Eagle Valley Saturday up in Craig. Meanwhile, the Sailors (3-2-1, 1-2), the defending league champs, head “to our favorite road trip,” as their coach, Rob Bohlmann, joked – Glenwood Springs, also on Tuesday.
Yet as the Bulldogs and Demons loom – Battle Mountain is at Glenwood on Thursday – the Huskies took a moment to celebrate.
“It feels great beating the team we lost the championship to,” Huskies senior Sergio Sifuentes said, referring to two 1-1 draws with the Sailors last year, which consigned the Huskies to second place.
“Really good week, really solid start to the season,” Battle Mountain coach David Cope said. “Against a good opponent, I thought we were dominant in every aspect of the game.”
The Huskies made sure they came away with three points, instead of one, Saturday, pretty much dictating the flow of play. The Huskies’ Brian Morales again caused trouble with runs along the right side. He lost one Sailors defender and was taken down by another in the box on one run.
That gave the Huskies a penalty kick in the 28th minute. Cody Hervert did the honors grounding his shot nicely past Steamboat keeper Joey Haight for a 1-0 lead. If this is starting to sound familiar to the Battle Mountain faithful, well, it is. That’s exactly how the Huskies scored their first against Eagle Valley on Tuesday.
Late in the first half, Efren Gonzalez sprung the Huskies attack with a nice through-ball down the right side to Leopoldo Rodriguez, who put it across to Haiven Garcia for a 2-0 lead.
“Efren made a great pass and I ran my butt off after that,” Rodriguez said.
The Huskies got another penalty kick in the 51st minute, but Haight stuffed Battle Mountain’s Jack Sunderland. Five minutes later, Sunderland got a second chance on a gorgeous cross from Sifuentes. He didn’t miss this time with a header into the net to ice the win.
Despite the loss, Bohlmann was pleased with the way his team responded to a tough week.
“We already started building,” he said. “We responded with a quick turnaround. We responded well from Thursday. We certainly didn’t have the run of the play, but we played with a lot more composure. That’s something we struggled with Thursday. We were able to come back and play a bit sharper.”
And Bohlmann was quick to note that the two teams meet again up north on Oct. 14.
Big, bad Bulldogs
Before that, Moffat comes to town, and the Bulldogs are quite unlike their predecessors. Traditionally consigned to the lower tier of the league, the Bulldogs had already made a statement with a 5-0 win over the Sailors. If that hadn’t caught the Huskies’ attention, 12-4 against Eagle Valley certainly did.
“The boys have known about Moffat,” Cope said. “They know about them in soccer circles. They returned a lot of good players. They might have snuck up on people, but when you’re 6-0, you don’t sneak up on anyone. It’s a good next game for us.”
That would be coach-speak for “There’s less chance of a let-down after playing our two rivals.” What is alarming about the Bulldogs aside from the fact that they’re 6-0 is that they’ve scored 40 goals in those contests.
As is usual, Bohlmann, whose team has played both squads, was diplomatic, and a bit cryptic.
“I think it’s going to be a really interesting result,” he said. “I think the tactical presence that Battle Mountain has collectively, if someone’s going to be able to combat their style, Battle Mountain’s going to be the one to do it. I don’t know.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.