Vail Valley preps: Huskies host Green Mountain today
EDWARDS – Today, there will be guys in white shirts and shorts running around the turf at Battle Mountain at Edwards. Please do not be alarmed. It’s only the Huskies soccer team.
You may remember these guys from such episodes as seven wins in Edwards when it was warm in September. Now, 27 days later, including a one-day delay for snow, and a 5-2 road trip to end the regular season, No. 12 Battle Mountain soccer is finally home again for Round 1 of the state playoffs against No. 21 Green Mountain at 3 p.m.
The winner heads to Evergreen Saturday.
“It’s nice to play on this field,” Huskies coach David Cope said on a chilly Wednesday afternoon. “We’re 7-0 on this field with this group, and some the kids’ families haven’t seen them play in a long time. So that’s all great. It’s great to be able to earn a home playoff game and to enjoy it.”
Issue No. 1 was earning a home playoff game, which Battle Mountain did by virtue of a 12-3 regular season record and its fifth Slope title in seven years. Issue No. 2 is winning said home playoff game.
From 2004, when the Huskies started hosting playoff games, through 2007, they were a perfect 5-0 either in Eagle-Vail or Freedom Park. The last two years have not been so kind.
In 2008, the Huskies fell to Longmont, 3-2, in overtime as No. 17 “upset” No. 16. Last year was a case of internal combustion against Evergreen. Already without stout defender David Gonzalez, who was done with season-ending injury, a family emergency suffered to a starter caused chaos and an ensuing 7-2 loss to Evergreen.
“It motivates all of us,” senior midfielder Sergio Sifuentes said. “Starting our sophomore year, we’ve lost both times, and felt we could have done better. It stays with you. Two years, we lost in the playoffs. Those were good teams, but this year is our senior year.”
For some fun trivia, the last Battle Mountain home playoff soccer win was a 6-2 victory against Summit in 2007. Rudy Solis had a hat trick and Jair Molina, Ubaldo Trujillo and Marco Escobar also scored for the Huskies. Yep, that was Escobar’s sophomore year before he transferred down to Eagle Valley to continue his storied soccer career.
“The last few years we were a little bit out of our mind,” said senior Bryan Morales, who plays on the right side of the Huskies’ midfield, opposite Sifuentes. “We didn’t play our game, but I think tomorrow we can do something. We’re motivated. It motivates us having lost the last two playoffs. The third one is the final one.”
Green Mountain enters at 4-9-2, but before the Huskies assume a matchup against Evergreen Saturday, the Rams play a tough schedule. Of their nine losses four were to 5A schools and another four to 4A playoff teams.
Green Mountain finished sixth in the 5A Jeffco, but drops down to 4A for the postseason.
The Rams and Huskies have two common opponents. Green Mountain topped Conifer, 4-1, while the Battle Mountain won, 3-2. The Huskies opened the season with 4-1 victory against Summit. The Rams took the Tigers, 2-1.
For the record, the Huskies are 2-0 in their playoff history against schools with mountain in their name, having beaten Cheyenne Mountain in 2005 and Mountain Range in 2006.
“We think they’ll be physical,” Cope said. “We think they’ll be athletic. They’ll be difficult to play. Will they be as technical and creative of our players? We don’t know.”
That seems to be a strong hint that the Huskies will use their speed and the 80 yards of width on their pitch.
Because the Huskies’ game was delayed a day by snow, the rest of Round 1 is in the books. By seed, there was only one “upset,” No. 17 Durango edged No. 16 Pueblo Centennial, 1-0. … With Durango in the Slope region for playoff-qualification purposes, that’s a good win for the league. No. 9 Montrose downed Canon City, 3-1. Next up for the Indians? A huge game at No. 8 Broomfield. … Huskies soccer split the field Wednesday with football for practice, which was good because the team’s center back, Cody Hervert, was running routes as a wide receiver. Practice was traditional for the postseason with small-field and finishing drills.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
Recent Battle Mountain playoffs
04 Ranum, W 4-0 … B and B boys … Banner and Barragan
04 at Liberty L 4-0 … Joel goes down, Huskies fall to No. 1
05 Evergreen, W 5-3 … Edgar Hernandez hat trick
05 Cheyenne Mountain, W 3-1 … Edgar was a stud
05 at Pine Creek, L 3-1 … District 20 Curse continues
06 Mountain Range, W 5-1 … The drumline begins
06 at Conifer, W 5-3 … A sweet road win
06 at Broomfield L 5-0 … Huskies meet No. 1
07 Summit, W 6-2 … Marco Escobar scores for Huskies
07 at Golden L 3-1 … All of Golden’s players are Connor-sized
08 Longmont L 3-2, OT … Some guy named Cody tied it
09 Evergreen L 7-2 … Huskies allowed 9 goals in previous 15 games