Huskies fend off Bears in 4A WSL matchup
A first-half scoring outburst was enough for the visiting Battle Mountain Huskies to pick up an 8-1 win, Thursday, at Rifle High School against the Bears in a highly anticipated soccer match between two 4A Western Slope League teams.
Unfortunately for Rifle, the Bears weren’t able to overcome the seven-goal first half by the Huskies, resulting in a fourth straight loss to open the season.
“We need to start playing how we practice,” Rifle Head Coach David Romero said. “That was the message at the half. There’s this attitude that we’re trying to get over and start taking things more seriously in our practice habits, which leads to us taking things more seriously in games. I liked it that a lot of the young guys are stepping up.”
Early on the size and speed advantage of the Huskies was clear as Battle Mountain scored two quick goals on headers to start the game. Cody Bahan made it 1-0 on a slew of headers around the net before the ball found him in the air near the left post, allowing him to head it home for the opening goal.
A few minutes later Taylor Staughton headed one home as well, this time off of a corner kick to make it 2-0.
Creek Kamby, David Barajas, Brandon Rodriguez, Juan Macias and Mauricio Castillo also found the back of the net in the first half for the Huskies.
But credit to the Bears under Romero, as the young Rifle squad continued to fight and came out in the second half determined to put together a solid 40 minutes of play, providing the young roster with something to build off of heading into their next game in one week.
Starting the second half, the Bears came out and really started to establish an offensive attack as JuanMarcos Crispin, Mayro Hernandez, Edgar Jaimes and Esteban Espino consistently countered anything the Huskies did, putting the Battle Mountain defense on their heels.
With the group of attackers up front for Rifle applying pressure left and right against Battle Mountain, things tightened up defensively as well for the Bears as captain Alexis Ramos and fellow defenders Andres Guerrero, Adalberto Dominguez and Oscar Crispin stood tall in the back end during the second half, providing a strong line of defense in front of Isaac Rivas, who took over in net for the Bears and allowed just one goal in the second half.
“It was amazing to watch,” Romero said. “Adalberto made a diving header and it’s one of the things we’ve been working on, but the young guys are really stepping up and we’re growing game-by-game. We really tightened it up in the second half and really tried to focus on defense.”
As the Bears started to put together a strong overall game in the second half, they were rewarded with a goal late in the half as Espino found the back of the net on a long, lofting shot from well outside the box, beating the Battle Mountain keeper who was playing well out of his net.
Despite the large loss to the Huskies and the Coal Ridge Titans this week, the Bears are taking the necessary steps to change the outlook of the program under the direction of Romero. They might be young, but building off of each game has the Bears heading in the right direction.
“You can see it,” Romero said. “It’s like running a race; you can see the end of the line, but we’re not there yet. We’ve got a lot to grow into, but I see a lot of great stuff from the guys. We showed a lot of improvement in the second half, and we saw their strong character come out. But it’s tough right now, but I try and stay positive with the guys and keep building and growing with them.”
Sitting at 0-4, the Bears will have a full week off before hosting Steamboat Springs next Thursday for another 4A Western Slope League matchup at Rifle High School.
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Playing on the road at Cedaredge Tuesday, the Coal Ridge High School volleyball team scored a tough win in five sets, 3-2, over the Bruins.