Huskies’ D pitches another shutout
EDWARDS – With his team leading 5-0 at the half Tuesday, Battle Mountain coach David Cope asked his team in the huddle, “What’s the most important number now?”The response came in unison, “Zero.”The Battle Mountain girls’ soccer team can score goals seemingly on command – and the Huskies did so in a 6-0 win against Glenwood Springs. But what is becoming apparent as the Huskies moved to 8-0 is that there is quite a defense behind this scoring machine.Steamboat Springs’ Shannon King is the only opposing player to score against the Huskies in 2007.”It’s remarkable,” Cope said. “It’s something we’re trying not to talk about too much because we don’t want to jinx it. Even in our pregame today is that the foundation of everything we do is how we defend.”That means it starts with backliners Sydney Nichols, Jamie Lee Roberts, Kelly Bowles and McKenzie Stevens, as well as goalie Kori Landauer.”I don’t think it’s surprising,” fullback Roberts said. “We’re so strong back there. We play really well with each other, knowing when to cover, where to be. We talk a lot. That’s our main goal – to keep talking. That helps us a lot.”No ice cream for Kori
In back, the Huskies have three volleyball players with state experience (Landauer, Nichols and Bowles), a skier (Roberts), and a hockey player (Stevens).”All of them, are multi-sport athletes and I don’t think that’s a surprise,” Cope said.It makes for a very versatile bunch. Though she likes to play in the field, Landauer, as a goalie, is used to bounding about the court as a libero on the volleyball court. Roberts is one of the top alpiners in high-school skiing. Stevens plays not only for Battle Mountain hockey, but on a variety of women’s teams during the winter.They all know a thing or two about pressure on as big stage, coming from their respective sports. This particular quality is of particular import to Nichols who has the unenviable task of having to replace the team’s stopper of the last four years, Morgan Wallace.”Big shoes to fill,” Nichols said. “I think I just go out there and do my best not let anyone get a shot on goal. Kori and I have this thing where every shot that she gets on goal I have to buy her an ice cream. With that in my head, I go out there and try my absolute hardest not to let anybody get a shot.”There’s no word yet on what Landauer’s favorite flavor is yet, but she has a few scoops coming to her.Defense, of course, is a team concept, and the Huskies showed it Tuesday. Ironically, it was Kelsey Sanders in goal, and Julia Burnett at fullback, the team’s brightest offensive stars, who snuffed out the Demons’ last two scoring chances.”We’re hoping that offense sell tickets and defense wins championships,” Cope said.
Lights outBattle Mountain ended this one very early, scoring five goals in the first 20 minutes of the first half. Burnett, in her traditional striker role, racked up a hat trick quickly.Though not exactly in what one could call a scoring slump – she leads the team with 13 goals – Cope was happy that Burnett found the back of the net.”She’s done a lot for our team and she hasn’t scored,” he said. “That was nice for her to be feeling it today.”Interrupting Burnett’s hat trick was Sanders’ 10th of the season. The goal was Sanders’ 56th career goal, putting her within one of tying Christina Aiello for the school record with seven games to play in the regular season.”I really enjoyed watching Christina Aiello play,” Cope said. “She was a great player, a tough kid, a competitor. She was sort of the one who started to make the girls competitive. She was one of those strikers where you’d say, ‘If you’re a step quicker and an ounce braver than your opponent, you’re going to get into some good positions over the course of a season.’ She had a great career and Kelsey’s put up a great career.”Kelsey Plath nearly had a hat trick of her own. She scored once in each half, earning Gianbottiglio, Battle Mountain’s award for the game’s most valuable player.Five goals in 20 minutes left the visiting Demons a bit shell-shocked, but Glenwood coach Linda Flohr was pleased with how her team responded.”Battle Mountain’s an excellent team and they came out very prepared,” she said. “It took us a little time to get going. We just came back from spring break, so we had one practice and a game like that. But we knew they’d be tough. It took us a while to adjust.”
Steamboat, anyone?The Sailors are next for both teams. For Glenwood (2-2-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the 4A Slope), Thursday’s stop at Steamboat is the second of five game in a row on the road. That having been said, the Demons have games in hand in their collective pocket and are poised to make a run toward the postseason.”It’s a learning process,” Flohr said. “We’ve got Steamboat on Thursday. We want to start where we finished here. As long as we’ve learned from our mistakes, we’re moving forward. We’ve a lot of games. We can improve as a team. We’ll see (Battle Mountain) again.”The Huskies are up in Steamboat Saturday at 3:30 p.m. for Round 2 against the Sailors. Battle Mountain got the proverbial monkey of its back two weeks ago beating the Sailors, 3-1, in Edwards, the program’s first win in 15 tries against Steamboat.”I feel like we need to think about the last game we played against them,” Nichols said. “Obviously, it’s harder to beat a team a second time because they get better, but I feel like our team has gotten better and stronger, too.” “Steamboat’s a great team,” Cope said. “They’ve got a great coach. We’ve got enormous respect for them. I think in a lot of ways to legitimize the little run we’ve had, you have to do it in Steamboat. You have to go up to their place and do it there.”Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.