Kristin Anderson/Vail Daily
Steamboat Springs goalie Connor Birch reaches out to save the ball during a game against Battle Mountain on Tuesday in Edwards. The game ended with a 1-1 tie.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The Western Slope soccer race will go down to the final week after Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs played to their second 1-1 draw of the season Tuesday night in Edwards.
And much like the 1-1 draw in the first meeting between the two teams in Routt County, the Huskies took a 1-0 lead into the final minutes only to see the Sailors get the equalizer.
Steamboat's Andrew White evened last month's game in the waning minutes and had the assist on Sam Glaisher's goal in the 77th minute Tuesday, leaving the Sailors and Huskies knotted with two ties in 2009.
"I knew it would come," Glaisher said. "We had some good finishes, and I think we had the heart to go out and play with composure even though we were down and to find a way to get it done. It wasn't pretty, but we got it done."
"We got to five minutes, and I thought, 'Oh, here we go. Here's where they were last time,'" Huskies coach David Cope said. "I thought we played well. I thought we created enough chances to win. Sometimes, they don't go."
The Huskies scored on a spectacular goal in the 47th minute from Jack Sunderland, who blasted his shot from 30 yards out at a tough angle.
Battle Mountain dominated the overtime, and Sailors keeper Connor Birch stayed consistent when the shots were on frame. Meanwhile, White had Steamboat's only chance in extra time but was robbed by Huskies goalie Clint Hervert.
"Today, (Birch) struggled with his distribution, but he came up big just like Battle Mountain's keeper," Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. "We knew going in that keepers were going to be pivotal."
While Steamboat likely felt better about Tuesday's tie with the Huskies than Battle Mountain, the biggest winner actually was Eagle Valley. Had the Huskies hung on for the win, Battle Mountain would have just needed one point in its final two games against Rifle and Eagle Valley to clinch the title (which was pretty much a certainty).
Now it's wide open.
The Huskies at 7-0-3 are atop the table with 24 points, though they've played one more game than Steamboat Springs and Eagle Valley. The Sailors are 5-0-4, good for 19 points, the same as the Devils at 6-2-1.
Steamboat holds the tie-breaker right now for second by virtue of its 1-0 win at Eagle Valley. Glenwood Springs (4-2-3, 15 points) officially fell out of the title chase with a 4-4 tie against Moffat County on Tuesday.
Steamboat needs to run the table with a road game at Rifle on Saturday, followed by home games against Eagle Valley and Moffat County next week. The Sailors also need Battle Mountain to lose one of its final two games.
A lot of this will get sorted out in the next week or so as three games loom large. Glenwood is at Eagle Valley on Thursday. The Devils then hit the road Tuesday for Steamboat Springs and are at Battle Mountain on Oct. 22.