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Eagle Valley hoping hard work leads to wins

Ian Smith
ismith@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
SPEV GS Megan Cochrane TS 04-10-08
ALL |

GYPSUM, Colorado ” Eagle Valley girls soccer is stressing a familiar mantra this season.

“Team.”

From the coaches down to the players, it all comes down to those four letters. The Devils are hoping their dedication to playing together will lead to more success.

It won’t take long for Eagle Valley to find out. Before the snow melts, the Devils will meet rival Battle Mountain in Edwards on March 5. As of today, there are only five more practices before the matchup with the Huskies.

Instead of worrying about facing the two-time 4A Slope champs in the opener, Eagle Valley is excited to test its mettle.

“I kind of like (playing the Huskies first) because we all get really excited for the Battle Mountain game and give our best effort,” senior Jaime Proctor said. “It’s nice to see how we can improve and how we can better when we play a team like Battle Mountain.”

Proctor’s attitude isn’t unique. All the players are anxious for the season. They proved that this winter.

After struggling last year to learn a new style of play under then-first-year coach Francois Nanin, Eagle Valley put in extra work during the offseason. The Devils didn’t do anything specific, but they wanted to be touching a soccer ball throughout the winter.

“We saw (the excitement) right away in the offseason conditioning,” Nanin said. “The participation, the enthusiasm is there this year. It’s very encouraging.”

Now, it’s time for the hard work to pay off. Eagle Valley returns talent from last season’s squad and add a host of newcomers. Don’t worry about the Devils gelling in time for Battle Mountain, Nanin’s team message is already tricking down into the way his players talk.

“We are trying our hardest and working as team,” Nanin’s daughter, Pearl, said in her best coach-speak. “It’s more about the team. There is no ‘I’ in team.”

To improve last season’s 2-12 record, Eagle Valley will rely on its defense. Joining Proctor on the back line is Krysti Gall, Dashia Jones, Jaclyn Taylor, Nicole Eisenmann, Anika Sandberg, Rachel Nagel and Jo Jo Trisonova. The Devils are hoping a strong defense will lead to more opportunities for its midfield and forwards.

Eagle Valley could rotate as many as three goalies. Sydni Schlegel, Blanca Gonzalez and Nicole Martin may all see time.

“We have girls coming back on the defensive side,” Francois Nanin said. “Last year, it was a strength.”

Offensively, the Devils are looking from contributions from a number of players. Pearl Nanin, Megan Cochrane and Paige Genelin are just a few of the players being counted on to share the scoring load.

Add the returning talent with all the extra work, and Eagle Valley has reason to be optimistic.

“I think we’ve really put in the effort in the offseason,” Proctor said. “We’ve been working hard now since practice started. Hopefully, that will translate into more success.”

Perennial favorites Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs lead the way in the newly formed 4A Slope North Division. Eagle Valley knows it needs to be ready to play right away. After their tilt with the Huskies to open the season, the Devils host Steamboat on March 10.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or ismith@vaildaily.com.


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