Girls soccer: Huskies surprise Coal Ridge in season opener
EDWARDS — Battle Mountain girls soccer beating Coal Ridge, 6-0, on Tuesday night in the season opener for both teams was surprising in two ways.
First, regardless of the difference in classification — the Titans are 3A, while the Huskies are 4A — this has been a good game the last two seasons with each team earning a win.
The second issue is that it could have been more, an early assessment of the Huskies’ offensive potential.
Before Huskies fans order state-title T-shirts or Titans fans lie down in the middle of Interstate 70, do keep in mind that Coal Ridge, the 3A Western Slope League defending champions, had just wrapped up the state basketball playoffs and had eight players with just one soccer practice under their collective belts.
“Coal Ridge has a quality program,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “They’re bringing back a lot of people from basketball playoffs. You could see the improvement from the first half to the second half. That won’t be the last we hear from Coal Ridge.”
“They’re a good squad. They moved the ball around us pretty easily, pretty quickly,” Coal Ridge coach Micah Herron said of Battle Mountain. “I can take away they didn’t quit. We went down pretty quick there in the first half, and kept fighting. That’s hard to do.”
Battle Mountain dictated from the start. The Huskies’ Acacia Ortiz broke the seal on the season on a feed from Morgan Croke. Logan Nash made it 2-0, just after she had missed on a breakaway, an unusual sight for the senior who had a whopping 25 goals last year.
The Huskies broke it open with Croke to Ortiz and then Nash to Croke early in the second half.
“We’ve been playing together since I can’t remember,” Croke said. “We have a pretty good connection together. We also work on it a lot in practice. We connect really well. It’s fun playing with them.”
That much was apparent. Battle Mountain’s Emily Cope and Julia Mills also made sure they were part of the parade.
While the unit did not get major work, Battle Mountain’s brand-new defense line of Mallory Skidmoore, Skye Whitney, A.J. Davies and Dylan Barker with goalie Jordan Glendenning pitched a shutout. Credit Davies with a nice clear off the line during what was likely the Titans’ best scoring chance during the second half.
“I think finishing was the big thing from today. That’ll be the focus and speed of play,” said coach Cope, as his team plays host to Summit at 6 p.m. Thursday. “Hard to nit-pick after that one. We’ve been so excited to play after two full weeks of training.”
And, again, look for the Titans to recover from this one. Coal Ridge, like the Huskies, has won its Slope League the past two seasons. Unlike Battle Mountain, Coal Ridge has also been to the Great 8 the last two springs.
The Titans are at a tournament at Kent Denver this weekend, starting with a tilt against Denver Science and Tech at 5 p.m. on Friday.
Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
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