Devils look to defense in 2007 |

Devils look to defense in 2007

Shane Macomber/Daily file photoGoalie Mary Cochrane, center, returns for her senior season for the Eagle Valley girls soccer team. The Devils open the year Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Gypsum Town Field against Battle Mountain.

GYPSUM – Is it just a coincidence that new Eagle Valley girls soccer coach Jenn Marut went to Penn State aka Linebacker U? The emphasis for Devils soccer is going to be defense in 2007 as the English teacher takes over the reins for the Devils.”We’ve been working a lot with defense,” the new coach said. “We’re starting there and moving forward.”

It is definitely a good place to start. At this point, the Slope knows how good goalie Mary Cochrane is. An all-league selection last year despite playing on a last-place team – a tribute to her abilities – Cochrane will lead the Devils into their season opener Tuesday at 4 p.m. against Battle Mountain at the Gypsum Town Field.”She is vocal. She’s positive. She’s a great leader to all the girls,” Marut said. “She’s very friendly. I’m so excited about what Mary brings to the team, getting the girls to go through long conditioning workouts, giving girls encouraging words. You need that. … Right away it was evident that Mary was a leader.””Mary and I work together great,” senior sweeper Sarah Hoza said. “I rely on her a lot and know I can rely on her a lot with her behind me. I know she relies on me. We just both work with each other. It’s awesome to have such a great goalie.”A key for Eagle Valley will be cutting down on the league-high 204 saves Cochrane had in 2006. It’s not that the Devils don’t like their star keeper. It’s just that less action in her end would be nice.

“I would like for Mary never to touch the ball, but that’s not going to possible,” Marut said. “We’re trying to get her some good people to try to protect her and get that defense really strong. We’re kind of going from there.”Depth

Toward that end, the Devils can boast a wealth of experience in the back of its 4-4-2 formation. Hoza and Nicole Luczkow are both seniors in the middle. Senior Katie Jean Ewing and Jamie Proctor round out what should be a solid unit. Look for Mikeila VanDyke, Samantha Villa, MacKenzie DeGroat and Tania Silvia in the middle and Yvette Parra and Krysta Sargent on the attacking end.Marut can also call on a deep bench which includes senior Maria Ruiz, as well as freshmen Chloe Elwood, Melodey Matthews and Jaclyn Taylor.There’s reason for optimism in Gypsum because 30 girls came out for soccer and spirits have been high during training.

“They’re itching to play,” Marut said. “They’re excited for the season. I’m just really encouraged by the turnout and the commitment by these girls. I’m looking forward to a fun season.” Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or

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