Battle Mountain soccer beats Evergreen in quarterfinal game |

Battle Mountain soccer beats Evergreen in quarterfinal game

Chris Freud/Vail Daily

Mitt Romney? Hasn’t got a chance. Barack Obama? No way.

Battle Mountain goalie Christian Espinoza will be a getting everyone’s vote after Thursday’s state quarterfinal game at Evergreen.

The senior goalie made three clutch saves in the decisive shootout, as Battle Mountain finally beat Evergreen, 2-1.

“I really don’t believe it,” Espinoza said. “Well, when we didn’t score in (overtime), I was hoping we could do PKs. We did penalty kicks in practice (yesterday). I saved a couple. This time, even before extra time was over, I think I was visualizing where they were going to go.”

After 110 minutes of thoroughly frustrating soccer — 80 minutes of regulation and 30 of overtime — the Huskies and Cougars went to a shootout tied at one. For 15 years, Huskies soccer coach David Cope has prepared for penalty kicks.

As it turned out, his shooters were fine, and his best weapon was Espinoza.

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Evergreen’s Nate Hentges went first and scored. Battle Mountain’s Roberto Diaz tied the kicks at one. The Cougars’ Adriano Borsa was Espinoza’s first victim. Erick Brionnes put the Huskies ahead, 2-1. Espinoza then stuffed Evergreen’s Joe McKenna. Battle Mountain’s Gunnar Wilson calmly netted his shot. Matthew Jackson was Evergreen’s last hope.

Espinoza made the save, and absolute bedlam broke out as the Huskies and their fans stormed the field.

For Battle Mountain, it’s shaping up as a once-in-a-lifetime season. The Huskies finally expunged “The Evergreen Curse.” The Cougars had eliminated from the playoffs the Huskies the last three years — in the first round in 2009, the second round in 2010 and the quarters last year. The Huskies are also now 18-0, a school record, and heading to the state semifinals for the first time in school history.