Huskies conquer the Slope
EDWARDS – Battle Mountain’s fans counted it down several times Saturday afternoon – 3 … 2 … 1…About the fourth time, the faithful nailed it, the referee agreeing with his whistle. The Battle Mountain girls’ soccer team ran for goalie Kori Landauer and then waved to the crowd, celebrating the program’s first league title which was iced by a 7-0 win at Freedom Park in Edwards.”It’s going to be really cool to look at that banner (in the gym) and see what you were a part of,” Huskies goalie Kori Landauer said. “It’s a neat thing.”When this year’s Battle Mountain seniors came into the program as freshmen, Huskies soccer was an also-ran in the Slope. The last three years, the Huskies have worked their way slowly up the standings with records of 9-5-2, 14-3 and 13-2-1 before finishing the task Saturday with a win which upped their record to 13-0-1.”It’s an amazing feeling,” Battle Mountain senior Lia Cahill said. “We worked so hard over the last four years. We’re the first team that’s had the same coaches in (David) Cope and Jen (Davin). It just feels so amazing, knowing that we worked that hard. We finally got it.”And with the title, the Huskies are the undisputed queens and kings of Slope soccer, with Battle Mountain’s boys’ team also the reigning three-time champions.”It’s exciting,” said Cope, who heads up both teams. “I think we have great kids in the soccer program on both the boys’ and girls’ side, and we also have a lot of competitiveness within the program for playing time. When kids see winning before them, they want to be a part of that and they want to work to uphold that.”
With Saturday’s game being Battle Mountain’s final regular-season home game of the year, Cope started nine of his 10 seniors – Kayleen Seaton was not present due to academic commitments.That included goalie Kaeli Hosler who got the start in goal, despite being hobbled by torn ligaments in her left ankle. What was meant to be an honorary start turned in to be a bit of an outing with Hosler fielding a ball and punting it down the field.Sydney Nichols, Cahill, Kelsey Sanders, Hannah Guida, Caroline Gallegos, Julia Burnett, Tanya and Gladys Solis made the most of their opportunity, staking the Huskies to a 4-0 first-half lead.”It was so nice doing it as all seniors,” Guida said. “We’re such a close-knit team. The seniors are really, really tight. It’s such a wonderful team. It’s such an amazing feeling.”Of course, it’s always good to be playing a junior like midfielder Emily LyBarger. She assisted on the Huskies’ first three tallies and scored the fourth.She helped out Sanders on the Huskies first, and fed Burnett for the next two.
“She always does that,” Sanders said matter-of-factly.Burnett returned the favor to LyBarger in the 26th minute, and the Huskies were on their way to a championship.”(LyBarger)’s a phenomenal player – three straight assists and you score the next one,” Cope said. “Thanks, and then she finishes the game at center back.”The onslaught left the visiting Bears a little stunned. “We’ve been playing really well,” Rifle coach Tom Taucher said. “The results are slowly starting to come. We’ve been playing really well. We saw some good soccer today, but Battle Mountain is the standard bearer of our league right now. We just wish them luck in the playoffs.”
Somehow, Cahill didn’t score in Tuesday game against Moffat County, when she managed to hit both posts on one shot. She can laugh about it now after scoring in the second half Saturday.”It felt so good,” she said. “It was my first career high school goal. It felt so good. I thought I had it last time. I’ve been dreaming about that goal.””I thought hitting both posts was pretty special,” Cope joked.Burnett picked up her hat trick on a helper from Kelly VanHee. Marisa Ammaturo to Lizzie Seibert wrapped up the scoring, drawing cheers from the Huskies’ bench.”This group has a special chemistry from top to bottom,” Cope said. “That’s not something that always happens in high school sports. They share each other’s successes. They share each other’s failures. They stick up for each other. .. When someone comes off the bench and scores, everyone’s excited. There were bigger celebrations for Lia’s and Lizzie’s goals than the other goals.”It could have been more had it not been for the stellar play of Bears senior goalie Kadie LaRocque. She was quite aggressive, playing off her line to snuff out numerous Battle Mountain scoring attempts.”She’s a fabulous goalie,” Taucher said. “She made some great saves and she played real aggressive. That was typical Kadie.”
Battle Mountain also recorded its 11th shutout of the season, breaking the mark set by the 2005 girls’ team.”I take a lot of pride in it because it comes from the whole team,” said Landauer, who took over for Hosler. “It was a team effort. When you get something like that it’s for the team.””That shutout record is a really special thing for Kori and the whole team,” Cope said. “We always say that 11 players score a goal, and 11 players allow a goal. The last 10 minutes when we’re trying to hold the shutout, we’ve got Emily LyBarger in front of Kori. We’re in pretty good shape.”
Before Battle Mountain looks at the state draw one week from today, the Huskies head to Delta Tuesday for an 11 a.m. kickoff. That is not a typo. The Panthers are hosting a track meet later that day and need the infield, which is the soccer pitch. … Battle Mountain will likely host a playoff game or two, barring any surprises. With that in mind, the Huskies still hope to take a few more road trips before the season is done. “If we can win some games, we’d like another long trip, preferably District 20 Stadium,” Cope joked in reference to his favorite so-called soccer facility in Colorado Springs. … Landauer took home the Defensive Rock, while Burnett gave Sanders Gianbottiglio. … Best wishes for a speedy recovery to Tasha Wyatt who was injured during Saturday’s JV game.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.