Vail Valley preps: Huskies soccer gets five for all-league
Life is maybe getting a little boring for Battle Mountain’s Cody Hervert.
“I have a little time to go out and maybe take some runs on the mountain,” the senior joked.
Now that the preps calendar has turned from fall to winter, the kid’s only playing one varsity sport – basketball – instead of doubling up on football and soccer.
Not only did Hervert survive that regimen, which he’s been doing for three falls now, but he flourished, certainly on the soccer side, where he’s one of 10 local all-leaguers.
The 4A Slope champion, Battle Mountain, netted five, including Leopoldo Rodriguez (all-state, second team) and Hervert (all-state, honorable mention), while Eagle Valley had three and Vail Mountain two.
Moffat County’s Tracy Mendoza won 4A Slope Player of the Year, while Bulldogs coach Rusty Cox is the league’s Coach of the Year.
While the Huskies might get a little chuckle out of the latter selection, they have plenty to celebrate in the postseason hardware department.
Rodriguez, Hervert and Bryan Morales all made first team. Though Hervert was second – rather unconventional for a team’s center back – on the team in scoring, these aren’t the conventional coaches’ picks, but good ones.
Rodriguez was the heart of the midfield. While his stats weren’t huge (three goals and four assists), it was usually Rodriguez pushing the team forward in transition.
“Polo was deep in the middle in connction passes and making sure anyone else with the ball knew he had support,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “He did that more so than having that killer last pass or the big goal.”
That said, Polo had his moments. He fed Heivan Garcia for a golden goal that clinched the league title in Steamboat. Rodriguez also scored at Moffat County to subdue the Bulldogs.
Hervert also came out of the shadows in 2010. When your older brother’s been the team’s starting goalie (Clint) for three years, and you get to step into the shoes of last season’s Player of the Year (Connor Tedstrom) at center back, it’s tough to be your own guy.
“Taking nothing away from those guys and David (Gonzalez), it was cool to show what I could do,” Hervert said.
Hervert set the tone, scoring the first goal of the season and anchoring the defense, which allowed more than two goals only twice in 17 games. He also goes down as the first Battle Mountain soccer player to beat Steamboat Springs three times in one season, albeit once in football.
Morales made his imprint with spectacular runs down the right side, creating chance after chance (seven assists) as well as some goals of his own. His style fit in perfectly with Battle Mountain’s scheme to play as wide as possible.
“He’s always had talent, but could he match his intensity to his talent,” Cope said. “The thing that stood out was that his first touch was immaculate.”
Morales also had a good vibe with honorable-mention selection Jack Sunderland, who topped the team with seven goals. The two combined for a few of those. Not even close to being the biggest, Sunderland always played like he had a chip on his shoulder and that will serve him well come hockey season.
Garcia rounds out the Huskies contingent as a sophomore honorable mention. Any discussion of clutch scoring at Battle Mountain starts with Edgar Hernandez, who dropped consecutive hat tricks in playoff games in 2005.
Young Garcia is off to a good start. He had a team-high four game-winning goals, including three in four games toward the end of the season.
VMS coach Slade Cogswell called J.C. Hernandez’s goal this year against Aspen “the greatest VMS goal ever scored.”
That says a lot coming from a guy who scored a lot back in the day when he wore Gore Rangers blue, white and orange.
His bicycle kick score against the Skier doubtless netted Skiers coach Junior Gilles’ vote and some others as Hernandez is the all-league representative for Vail Mountain.
“He’s just a hard worker and a leader,” Cogswell said. “He’s the all-around kind of kid you want on your team. He worked harder than he thought he could on his tactical skills and I think he ended up being our leading scorer from the midfield.”
VMS is well-set at goalie for the future. Freshman William Sterett appears to be the latest in a line of great goalies (Aaron Vandeford, Tyler Croke and Mike Busenhart) out of East Vail after his honorable-mention nod.
Just as a cycle kick will leave an impression, so do big games when it comes to all-league voting.
And that would be Alexis Fernandez, who was all-league for Eagle Valley. Fernandez had a hat trick against Palisade and two goals in a 5-4 win against Moffat County, likely the Devils’ biggest victory of the season.
“He did a great job,” Devils coach Jason Rittmiller said. “He worked hard every day in practice. He was good example for the team. Every game he played was a great one. He never gave anything less than his best.”
Fernandez had some company on the all-league squad. Defensive stalwart Julio Garcia and sophomore Freddie Vasquez were honorable mentions.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
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