Golden too much for Battle Mountain
EAST VAIL – It happened, but there was no panic. For the first time all season, an opponent took a lead on the Battle Mountain girls soccer team.When Golden scored in the 19th minute of Saturday’s second-round 4A state playoff game at Bandoni Alumni Field in East Vail, the Huskies kept playing their game. The only problem for Battle Mountain was that the Demons kept playing their game, too.Golden scored three first-half goals en route to a 5-0 win.”I thought nobody gave up, and that’s something we talked about at halftime,” said Huskies’ coach David Cope. “Through the second half right to the end, nobody gave up. I don’t think it was ever a stroll for (Golden).”
The Demons put nearly 20 shots on the Huskies’ net, and limited Battle Mountain’s offensive chances.”We’ve had a tendency to let up a bit when we get ahead, and I told the girls they needed to keep the pressure on,” said Golden coach Bill Hillen.For the first five minutes, the Huskies strung together nice passes, and Golden countered with some shots that Battle Mountain keeper Kori Landauer saved. After some more back-and-forth play, the Demons’ Marissa Davis put her team up in the 19th minute.Davis collected a feed at the top right corner of the Huskies’ box, moved in and launched a shot into the top right corner of the net.”You’re always stressed out when the game is tied,” Hillen said. “And we didn’t know anything about (Battle Mountain).” One minute after Golden scored, Landauer made a big save and the Huskies countered with a bit of pressure. But in the 28th minute, Golden’s Lizzie Farrell crossed a ball from the deep right flank into the box where teammate Dale Ekberg redirected it into the net for a goal.
In the dying minutes of the first half, Davis made a great individual effort, streaking down the left side of the field with the ball, and put a left-footed shot up that Landauer couldn’t handle.”She’s quick,” Hillen said of Davis. “And the team really rallies behind her.”
The Huskies made a few adjustments at the half to try and get some more offense.”I switched with Lizzie (Seibert) in the midfield to try and help Emily (LyBarger) win some of the balls in the air,” said Battle Mountain’s Julia Burnett.”If thought if we could stick to the task and get one … we could push that into something,” Cope said.Golden’s midfield and backline handled the ball well and gave the Huskies little space to work with.”We didn’t have a whole lot of possession up there,” said Battle Mountain’s Kelsey Sanders. “We were trying to get the ball moving quickly, and if we possessed it better and made connecting passes, we’d have advanced that way. (Golden) has a solid defense – they are a good team. We met a new challenge and had to try and overcome that.””I felt like our group experienced a bit of pressure for the first time all year, and we weren’t able to settle and play and knock the ball around,” Cope said. “I felt like we were rushing ourselves, even at moments when we did have time. That’s a factor of not playing in enough competitive games during the year.”The Huskies went 15-0-1 in the regular season and won the 4A Western Slope League outright for the first time.”We’re so proud to have won the league,” Cope said. “But we were so dominant throughout the year that it was different to be in a situation, not to do with the score, but the time to make a play and a decision.”
With 10 minutes left in the game, Cope substituted in all of his seniors and cheered on his kids after the final whistle.”In all these contests, you get to a place where your ambition exceeds your ability,” Cope said. “You can’t question their commitment to each other, the game, their school and their community.”Hopefully they’ll look back on an experience like this and say, when you commit yourself, heart and soul, to something, great things can happen. And big disappointments can happen. That’s living live. If you don’t risk and don’t live and don’t commit, you may never get a big disappointment, but you’ll never get those successes.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.