Huskies rip Bears in Eagle
EAGLE-VAIL, Colorado ” Battle Mountain soccer tried something new Saturday against Rifle.
After six games and three weeks on the road, It was called a home game.
“It was funny at halftime,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “One of the boys said, ‘I like playing on this field.'”
Battle Mountain certainly felt comfortable as the artist formerly known as Jair Molina ” more on that later ” had a hat trick and the Huskies cruised, 8-0, over the visiting Bears.
And that sets up the biggest game in the history of everything … for now for Battle Mountain when it hosts Steamboat Springs Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Eagle-Vail.
“It’s huge,” Cope said. “I know they’re playing against Eagle (Valley) and that will be an interesting result. It’s always an interesting game against Steamboat because I respect the way (Sailors coach) Rob (Bohlmann)’s teams play the game. On this field, there’s a lot of history.”
Saturday’s result of note was Eagle Valley 2, Steamboat 1, and we’ll give you one guess as to who scored. Nevertheless, with the Devils leading the pack at 6-1 in the Slope, followed by Battle Mountain (5-1), Glenwood (5-1) and Steamboat (5-2), Huskies-Sailors Tuesday should be the first in a series of big games among the league’s elite.
If you’re wondering, the Devils host the Demons Thursday at 4 p.m. in Gypsum.
While the Huskies went 4-2 on their voyage with losses to Glenwood and state-power Cheyenne Mountain, a perfectly respectable showing, Battle Mountain looked much more like itself Saturday.
Start with Molina, excuse us, Jair, who netted the Huskies’ first three goals against the Bears.
“Just Jair in capitals,” he said.
Sorry, young Molina, but this is not the English Premiere League, so we’ll stick with surnames. Whatever you’re calling him, Molina’s on a tear with six goals in his last two games and nine overall since missing the first three games of the season.
“It’s just everyone contributing to the team,” Molina said. “I get a good pass, I’ve got to end it. It was really hard missing three games when I could have been playing and scoring.”
Molina’s trifecta obscured that this was, in fact, a close game early. Rifle had its chances, especially in the second half when Ricardo Salgado and Brandon Borgard had the ball in Battle Mountain’s box.
“Apparently not,” Bears coach Ryan Mahler said. “We could have been 2-1 at the half, but then right in the second half, we have two opportunities five yards into the box. You’ve got to finish. It’s a different story. It’s a 2-2 game instead of whatever they ended up with. I don’t even know what the final score was.”
That’s because the Huskies blitzed the Bears in the final 40 minutes. Efren Gonzalez scored on an assist from Davey DeChant. Sergio Sifuentes, who also wants his name in capitals, made it, 5-0, prompting Cope to become a John McCain supporter by saying “The Serge/Surge is working.”
Cody Hervert had his second in as many games on a corner from DeChant. But Battle Mountain’s seventh score got the most reaction from the bench.
Sifuentes crossed the ball into the box and teammates Jack Sunderland and Connor Tedstrom went for the header.
Not daunted by the slight height differential between the two, Sunderland headed it home.
“I beat Connor out because I’m that much bigger than him,” Sunderland joked.
Sunderland, a hockey forward, however, will leave the defense to teammates Kalen Burnett (goalie) and Tedstrom (blueliner) come winter. DeChant ended it with his team-high 13th goal.
At 7-2, the Huskies feel good going into Tuesday game with the Sailors, having shaken off the effects of the loss at Glenwood during the road trip.
“Glenwood helped our team,” Molina said. “We thought we were good, but we needed a loss to come together as a team.”
Meanwhile, Rifle (3-4 in the Slope and 3-6 overall) has four of its next five at home starting with Palisade on Thursday, but it seems that improvement will have to come from within.
“They’ve got to prepare themselves better as a team for the game,” Mahler said. “They just kept on getting down. You could hear the players arguing with each other out there. They knew this was a big game and they just didn’t perform.”
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Amid hundreds of cleat-footed little leaguers casually gathered along the first baseline, the glare of parents’ sunglasses deflecting the early morning sun, coach Troy Phillips began a trip down memory lane.