Game on: Here come the Sailors
Steamboat Springs.The school remains the measuring stick for Battle Mountain sports. When volleyball, cross country and boys’ basketball made their title runs this athletic year, those teams had to go through the test – beating the Sailors.Huskies boys’ soccer knows the drill. Before Battle Mountain was the two-time reigning Slope champs, the Huskies had to climb the hill against the Sailors. After years of being pounded by Steamboat, Battle Mountain slowly turned the corner, earning a 2-2 tie in 2002, and finally beating the Sailors for the first time since 1992 on Oct. 8, 2003.That win in 2003 set the stage for Battle Mountain boys’ soccer success.
The Battle Mountain girls’ soccer team hopes today is its day to follow in those footsteps when the Sailors come to Edwards at 11 a.m.”There’s a lot to motivate the girls against Steamboat,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “Are we ready to take another step forward with the program? I think lots of things indicate that we are. You look at the last couple of seasons, and it’s been a natural progression into the playoffs and then another round of the playoffs. Steamboat represents another marker. We’ve got huge respect for (Sailors head coach) Rob (Bohlmann), and everything those girls have accomplished over the three years that they haven’t lost a (league) game.”Come spring, the Sailors are the queens of the pitch in the Slope. With a record of 36-0 in the circuit in the last three years, you have to go back to 2002 when Glenwood beat Steamboat twice to wrestle the crown away from the Sailors.While the Sailors are three-time defending league champs, Battle Mountain seems to be closing the gap a bit. Almost exactly one year ago today, Kelly Labor led the Sailors to a 3-0 win against Battle Mountain with two goals and an assist. In the rematch at the end of the regular season, the Sailors edged the Huskies, 1-0, on a Labor penalty kick in the 54th minute up in Routt County.”We need to stay focused and play as a team,” Huskies senior Steph Walker said. “We know what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to work together.”
In addition to Steamboat’s dominance, there are two other interesting factors to today’s game. The first is the weather. It’s not so much today’s weather, but that weather has kept Steamboat off the field since losing to No. Broomfield, 4-0, last weekend.Meanwhile, Battle Mountain with its turf field in Edwards has played three games and had outdoor practice sessions on a regular basis.”Obviously, we’ve been training every day,” Cope said. “I think Rob does such a good job of preparing his team. We know they’ve been to Grand Junction to train. We know they’ve been to Denver to play scrimmages. We’ve known they’ve played Broomfield. There’s us having more (time) on a big field, yes. There’s an advantage to them that they’ve already played the No. 1 team in the state. I think it’s going to be a great game.”The other issue will be finishing. As close as Battle Mountain has gotten to Steamboat in the last year, the Huskies haven’t scored. Battle Mountain has scored early and often in its first three games against weaker opponents, but will need to capitalize against Steamboat.
“We created a lot of chances to score some goals, but we may have to be more efficient against Steamboat,” Cope said. “It could be that we create five chances and get one goal.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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