Vail Valley preps: Huskies down Palisade; Devils next
EDWARDS – With all respect to Summit County and Palisade, Battle Mountain soccer’s season starts Tuesday.”So much for the preliminaries, right,” Huskies coach David Cope said after his team dispatched Palisade, 8-2, Thursday night in Edwards.Battle Mountain hosts Eagle Valley Tuesday at 6 p.m. and Steamboat Springs comes to town on Saturday morning. Since Battle Mountain went 8-0-4 last year in the Slope and those four draws against the Devils and Sailors cost the Huskies the league title, Tuesday can’t come soon enough.So have these games been on your mind, Jack Sunderland?”Very much so,” the Battle Mountain senior midfielder said tactfully.”I think you can’t help but look when the schedule comes out, think, ‘When’s the Eagle game? When’s the Steamboat game?” Cope said. “Here they come. We’re really excited about it.”While Eagle Valley is a vastly different squad than when the two teams met in Edwards on Oct. 22 last fall, it’s safe to say Battle Mountain doesn’t care. The Huskies remember that night, a scoreless draw, as the game that lost them the Slope title to Steamboat. Likewise, the Devils will enter with a chip on their collective shoulder. Eagle Valley thought it finally had beaten the Huskies – for the first time since 1999 – with an overtime goal by David Shea, only to see it called back for offsides, in the first meeting between the two teams down in Gypsum.It is Rivalry Week for the Huskies.Battle Mountain got ready for the Devils in so-so fashion, especially in the first half against Palisade, allowing two goals in the first 40 minutes. The Bulldogs’ Samuel Tarin gave the visitors a 1-0 lead five minutes into the game. The Huskies response was Brian Morales, who netted a hat trick in the next 15 minutes.”It was pretty quick,” Morales said. “I never expected a hat trick in the first half. It was fast.”The senior flew down the right side for two quick goals and then slammed home a rebound for a 3-1 lead. Sunderland added his second of the year and Palisade replied with a goal by Oscar Ponce to make it 4-2 at the half.”Brian’s been playing really well this year,” Cope said. “We’ve really been impressed with Brian. Last year, he had a frustrating season because he knew he could do it and knew he was capable of it, but he couldn’t get on the scoring path. For him to get a hat trick is a great accomplishment.”Battle Mountain played much better in the second half. Freshman Alex Trujillo started the scoring, as part of a one-goal, two assist night. His presence in the lineup is worth noting because Cope just doesn’t start freshmen. The last first-year to see significant playing time in the way Trujillo has so far this season was some guy named Connor Tedstrom.”He’s unbelievable. He’s smaller than me and he’s physical,” said Sunderland, who will never be confused with a basketball player. “He’ll go in 1-on-1 with anybody. It doesn’t matter if they’re 6 feet. I like when people play like that.”From there, Diego Rodriguez, Joe LyBarger and Hugo Castillo all scored, raising Battle Mountain’s record to 2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Slope.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.