Valor Christian too much for Huskies lacrosse
EDWARDS — To find Battle Mountain boys lacrosse’s schedule, maxpreps.com is the obvious choice or one can look at the CHSAA top-10 rankings.
Battle Mountain, itself No. 10 in the 4A rankings, took one on the chin on Friday, falling to No. 8 Valor Christian, 16-6. These sorts of games are not exactly fun at the time, but they provide dividends down the road.
“There’s no question we do schedule as many top-10 teams as possible every year,” Huskies coach Jerry Nichols said. “It’s to elevate our game, to give our young team some confidence that they can play, run with the best of the state on any given day. We may not be able to do it for four quarters. That’s going to become three quarters and that’s going to become four quarters.”
Where’s the cupcake game?
And strength of schedule is very important come playoff time. In addition to the No. 8 Eagles on Friday, the Huskies have played No. 1 Dawson and No. 2 Windsor. No. 4 Conifer is on May 4, while the Huskies won at No. 5 Steamboat Springs last month. Battle Mountain’s next game is at No. 9 Thomson Valley on Monday. (And, yep, Aspen was in the top 10 when the Huskies topped the Skiers earlier this season.)
Such a schedule takes a toll on a team’s record — the Huskies are still a respectable 5-4 — but it’s all about a bigger picture.
“We were in the game for a little more than half,” Nichols said. “We had some breakdowns. Valor is big, strong, athletic and I gotta tell you, I’m super proud of our young team. We’re playing out there with 75 percent underclassmen. I thought we played with a lot of heart.”
Valor Christian got off to a 5-1 lead, as the Huskies struggled with their possessions with a myriad of turnovers. The “what-if” moment came late in the first when the Battle Mountain bench certainly believed that Sawyer Nestlerode had scored a goal. The officiating crew ruled the shot went off the iron. The Eagles took the ensuing possession down the field for a 6-1 lead.
The Huskies seemed to be chipping away at Valor’s lead during the second quarter with goals by Kevin Nichols and Jeremy Sforzo. But the Eagles answered with two and took over in the second half.
“All in all, that’s a loss we can build on,” Jerry Nichols said.
Bright spots included faceoffs. Valor had been winning those at more than 80-percent clip, and the Huskies reduced that number. Meanwhile, Huskies goalie Erikson Hirn also did his fair share to keep his team in the game with some particularly exceptional saves in the third quarter.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.