EDWARDS — Battle Mountain girls soccer finished up March in style with a 4-0 win over archrival Steamboat Springs on Saturday and now is looking toward April and May.
The Huskies wrapped March with a 7-0 record and with their win against the Sailors have clinched the Eastern Division of the 4A Slope and will play the league semifinals at the friendly (and wide) confines at the end of April.
More importantly in the Huskies’ camp, Saturday was a gratifying conclusion to a season sweep over the Sailors.
‘A Fantastic Feeling’
“It feels pretty good,” senior Huskies goalie Mindy Vickers said. “Steamboat’s a team for the past four years I’ve been playing against. It’s one of those games we circle on the calendar. I respect them as an opponent. To beat them twice is a fantastic feeling. It puts us on Cloud Nine.”
Steamboat Springs (3-4 overall and 3-3 in the Slope) remains a good bet to capture the East’s second semifinal berth. Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann felt his team matched up better against the Huskies the second time around after a 5-0 loss up in Steamboat earlier this month.
“We had a lot of personalities stepping up and playing different roles,” the coach said. “All in all, we walk off feeling much better in this game than in the first. Specifically, as a team, we felt we sat back too much in the first game. We let them play, and they’re so good at that. We feel better about closing the field, stepping (forward) on the field, putting them under a little more adversity.”
Steamboat did mount some pressure, and the Huskies got to show that they are simply not just an offensive juggernaut. With four seniors on the back line in Jenai Denardo, Bridgett Courtois, Megan Hogfeldt and Karely Duran, and Vickers back-stopping the show, there’s a quiet confidence within the unit.
“When you have four seniors back there, you expect them to have poise, and make great decisions. Megan and Karely are great partners in the middle, and (sophomore) A.J. Davies is sliding in there when they need a rest. You have four seniors and a goalkeeper who’s a senior, and it just feels solid. They know each other and they make good decisions when they have the ball. They don’t just clear it.”
Saturday was the sixth shutout in a row for the defense.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the field, Logan Nash had the first two in the eighth and 49th minute. The first one was a one-time rocket from Morgan Croke, who also had a big offensive day with one goal and two assists.
“It’s such a good feeling. We practice it all the time,” Croke said. “It’s just something we look to. It’s so fulfilling when you’re able to get that play and make something happen.”
Emily Cope made it 3-0 and Croke finished it after being one of many Huskies to be denied by the crossbar.
Steamboat Springs hosts Fruita Monument on Tuesday at 6 p.m., the same time the Huskies kick off down in Gypsum against Eagle Valley.
“Big week coming up for us,” David Cope said.
In addition to the Eagle Valley game, Battle Mountain hosts Mullen of Friday and is at Glenwood Springs on Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.