Battle Mountain girls lacrosse falls to defending state champion Green Mountain |

Battle Mountain girls lacrosse falls to defending state champion Green Mountain

Rams go on 8-0 run to seal 17-6 win

Audrey Knight defends Charlotte Hoffman during Tuesday's game against Green Mountain.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

On Tuesday night, Battle Mountain girls lacrosse welcomed the defending 4A state champions from Green Mountain to Edwards for a matchup between two top-10 ranked teams. Despite the 0-2 record, the No. 9-ranked Rams looked every bit the part of a team protecting a title, using ferocious 8-0 run to cruise to a dominant 17-6 win over the No. 7-ranked Huskies.

“I looked at that 0-2 record and I didn’t pay much attention to it,” Battle Mountain coach Mat Ballay said. “I think it’s a great learning experience. You know we’re scheduling these teams intentionally because we want to play some of the better teams in the state. This is our opportunity to see what that level looks like and so it shows us where we need to go.”

Green Mountain sophomore Avery Freedman proved to be a handful at centerfield, winning almost every draw throughout the game and punching through the game’s first three goals.

Avery Freedman scored six goals and controlled the draws in leading Green Mountain to a victory Tuesday night in Edwards.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“She had a nice move she kept using and was getting above our girls and unless you’re taller and can jump higher, it’s hard to get the ball at the highest spot if she’s getting it there,” Ballay said of Freedman.

The Rams surged to a 4-1 advantage when Kara Harris penetrated up the middle, forced a defensive collapse, and found Freedman for the easy lay-in. Early in the game, the Rams kept the pace of play slow, content to cycle the ball around the perimeter, waiting patiently to strike.

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Kara Harris scores at the end of the first half as Green Mountain cruised to a 7-4 advantage at the halfway point.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“They were very patient offensively in that first half and so that puts a little pressure on you to be very intelligent with your possessions and not waste any,” Ballay noted. The 4-1 score held until the 7:53 mark, when Battle Mountain’s Anne Hilgartner knocked on the door twice and Molly Kessenich finally pounded it home for the Huskies second score. Kessenich had found Izabelle Kovacik on a two-on-one fast break in the game’s second minute to put Battle Mountain on the board in the first place.

After Hilgartner and Alexandra Dienst converted on a pair of goals, to make it 6-4, Freedman came through with the fourth of her game-high six scores with 2.3 seconds left on the clock.

Sofia Rindone takes a shot in the second half against Green Mountain.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

In the second, the Rams picked up the tempo considerably. Harris and Freedman, along with Kya Cooper and Rome Villani, worked the middle of the field with give-and-gos, scoring three times in under a minute to make it 10-4. They kept the momentum rolling, pouring in four more to complete the decisive 8-0 run.

“I think that second half it was a different story. In the first we played them tight and we were doing a much better job of covering cutters and not giving them easy looks on (goalie) Roxy (Surridge),” Ballay said.

“In that second half, we were a little complacent on our off-ball defense and they made us pay for it.”

Rams keeper Gina Meyer was simply brilliant throughout the game, stopping two penalty shots in the first half and making difficult saves from the few point-blank opportunities the Huskies materialized in the second. With 5:28 to go, Piper Sassi and Dienst would pester Meyer, who wandered away from the net with the ball. Meyer lost control on the risky move and Dienst recovered and launched it into the empty net to make it 15-5.

Palmer Ulvestad put one home with 1:16 to go to make things a little closer, but the night belonged to the Rams. With the loss, Battle Mountain falls to 5-2 and will have to wait until hosting Summit on April 4 to get back in the win column.

Molly Kessenich races toward the goal Tuesday night.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“They’re a good team,” Ballay said of Green Mountain. “But I think we can play them a little tighter with a few adjustments. So there’s going to be a lot of things we can improve upon and we’re going to get to work.”

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