Vail Valley preps: Indians nip Huskies, 1-0
EDWARDS, Colorado – OK, which soccer coach said the following?
“I feel we’re very confident in our league and we’ll finish strong. The biggest thing we need to keep stressing is finishing those shots. We had a lot of chances. I have no doubt about our defense. It’s just finishing those shots.”
No, that would not be Battle Mountain’s David Cope, but it could have been. Actually that was Cheyenne Mountain coach Tomas Martinez. (To be fair, it would have sounded more Cope-like had Martinez talked about the fellas and included some obscure pop-music reference,)
In a match-up of two of the best teams in the state – who happen to be mirror images of each other – No. 3 Cheyenne Mountain edged No. 9 Battle Mountain, 1-0, Saturday afternoon at Phelan Field in Edwards.
“If we’re pretty similar to Cheyenne Mountain, we’re doing something right,” Cope said.
The Indians’ Ben Glass’ goal in the 29th minute stood as Cheyenne Mountain improved to 6-1-1, while the Huskies fell to 5-1-2.
Cheyenne Mountain, a perennial state power, likes to gets out of the Colorado Springs Metro Conference to test the waters. The Indians opened the season with a scoreless draw against state champ, Rock Canyon, a 1-0 win against Liberty and a 2-0 loss to No. 1-ranked Niwot.
Meanwhile the Huskies use this annual match-up to see how they compare, and the verdict is pretty well.
The Indians built up a a nice sequence on the day’s only marker. Officially, the goal was a give-and-go from Christian Cornejo to Ben Glass. Glass sent Cornejo down the left side and ran to the right post.
Cornejo’s run to the left side pulled out Huskies goalie Clint Hervert, who couldn’t have stopped this chance, and his pass left Glass on the far post with an easy shot.
“I got a through-ball in space and I played the ball far out wide and just made my run through,” Glass said. “I had an open shot, so I took it. It was a good ball played in from Christian. I guess it just worked.”
Credit is also due to Cheyenne’s Nells Stolte, who doesn’t get an assist, but started the sequence from the back.
“I like the fact that we were playing the ball wide. It’s a big space,” Martinez said. “We stressed that to the guys. Luckily, they did that. Christian Cornejo went down the line and Ben finished it. That’s perfect. Our specialty is combination balls and using width because we have a fast team.”
The Huskies had a golden chance early when Efren Gonzalez served up a fine pass to Leopoldo Rodriguez, who just missed the frame.
“You give Polo that chance again, he scores,” Cope said, referring to Rodriguez.
Huskies goalie Clint Hervert shined as the Huskies moved into attack mode late in the game, trying to find the equalizer. The senior made several stellar saves to keep his team in the game.
“(Hervert) came up big in the end,” Martinez said. “They were pushing up so hard and they had just three (defenders) in the back. He was huge.”
Gonzalez, Jack Sunderland and Ubaldo Trujillo all had chances late, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Back to the Slope
While it was a tough loss, the Huskies finished a very good week on their new pitch. Battle Mountain nipped Glenwood Springs, 1-0, on a late goal by Jack Sunderland Tuesday and knocked off Montrose, 2-1, Thursday before bowing to the Indians. Cope was pleased with six points out of the tough stretch.
“At the beginning of the year, looking at this week, the worst-case scenario was that you lose all three games and you lose two of them badly,” Cope said. “Instead, all three games left us something to look at. The bottom line is that I’m proud of our group. We think we have something special going on.”
That will be tested Tuesday night in Glenwood when the Huskies face the Demons Tuesday in the second meeting in eight days between the two rivals.
Cheyenne Mountain is home for Mitchell on Thursday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.