Vail Valley preps: Summit edges Battle Mountain
EDWARDS – It was windy and cold with rain turning over to snow Thursday. In other words, it was perfect weather for Summit and Battle Mountain, regardless of the sport.
And when the snow started settling, Summit boys lacrosse came away with a tight 7-6 win over Battle Mountain, holding off a late Huskies’ charge.
“We kind of got a little lucky, to be honest. We were down a lot,” said Summit coach Michael O’Neill, whose team ran afoul of the whistle often Thursday. “That last penalty we were down three minutes with a non-releasable, and we hung in there. Our defense came up pretty big. We got a little lucky.”
Summit built a 7-3 lead in the third quarter, only to see Battle Mountain reply with three goals in the final 12 minutes. The Huskies had one last possession in the waning seconds, but the Tigers’ Brandon Major picked up a ground ball and flicked it wisely in the Battle Mountain end to clinch the victory.
“There’s definitely a rivalry,” said Tigers attacker Dylan Horan, who had a hat trick for Summit. “Both teams showed up to play and wanted to win. It went back and forth, and I think we got a couple of bounces that let us pull ahead.”
Battle Mountain had sustained possessions in the first half, forging a 3-3 tie at intermission. The Huskies’ defensive scheme also stymied the Tigers, forcing a key adjustment in the second half.
“They were doing a good job of shutting off our attack men down low, where were couldn’t do our offense,” O’Neill said. “We couldn’t get around. They were pressuring our wing guys so hard. So we tried to do it from the midfield instead from up top. We simplified it.”
By attacking with the midfielders, the Tigers were able to loosen up the area in front of Battle Mountain’s net. That lead to a four-goal third period, which proved decisive. Major scored twice for the Tigers in the third, sandwiching Horan’s hat-trick goal. Zach Dobson also ripped the twine, courtesy of Shamus O’Neill’s third assist of the day.
In that critical quarter, the Huskies lost attacker Josh Rosenbach, who had two goals in the first half, to a big hit. Battle Mountain also lost Chris Libertini, who was shown the door in the third along with Tigers defenseman Sonny Magrino after they scuffled.
Nevertheless, Battle Mountain made it close as Parke Robbins to Timmy Licciardi closed the gap to 7-4 in the third. The final quarter started with O’Neill getting tagged for an illegal stick and a three-minute penalty, and the Huskies’ Reeve Sanders scored on the advantage. With 5:33 left in the game, Licciardi had his third of the game, but Battle Mountain would get no closer.
“I’m really excited,” Huskies coach Seth Jones said. “We’ve talked in the past about playing four quarters. I think we played three. We got really close to playing the full four. I think playing against a team like Summit does let us see where we stand. It was nasty weather. Even through the nasty weather, we stepped up our play. We did the fundamentals better.”
For the Huskies (5-4), it was definitely an improved performance against Summit. The Tigers handled Battle Mountain easily last year, 8-2. The Huskies hope that the momentum carries into Saturday’s game at Aspen.