Huskies, Devils ready to do battle today
In his first year coaching the Battle Mountain girls’ soccer team, Dave Cope is learning the ins and outs of leading ladies.
Cope, who has coached the Huskies’ boys in the fall for the last ten years and will continue to do so, is still surprised at times when some of his players say ‘thank you’ after practice, and is still getting used to a different sort of team dynamic – one that is more pluralistic than individualistic.
There is one thing Cope is pretty certain of, though, heading into the Huskies’ third game of the season today against archrival Eagle Valley.
“This is my first season coaching the girls, but my understanding is that this group of seniors has never beaten Eagle Valley,” Cope said after Monday’s practice. “Next year it becomes a league game and it goes to a home-and-away, but for these seniors, (today) is their last shot. They just want to walk away winners.”
It’s the exact opposite for Eagle Valley’s senior class, a group that has never tasted defeat against the Huskies.
“They do play together in the offseason on the club teams, so they are pretty familiar with each other,” Eagle Valley coach Daiva Katieb said. “I know they are just looking forward to getting the season started. For us as a team, it’s more of a get-ready-for-the season type of game, before we go into league play. I’ll be trying some different combinations with players.”
Both clubs have already gotten their first games of the season out of the way – the Huskies lost to both 5A Fruita Monument and 5A Grand Junction Central over the weekend, while the Lady Devils took down 4A Elizabeth, 3-2 – so there shouldn’t be any pregame jitters.
There will be postgame bragging rights on the line, though.
“I think it’s always exciting when it’s the other school in the district,” Cope said. “The girls knowing each other and playing with one another in the offseason, it should bring out the best in each team. Certainly we see it as a really good test to play two 5A teams and then a rivalry game. That should certainly help us by the time we move into league play.”
Youth vs. experience
Cope is specifically looking for his seniors to lead the way today. He knows that the younger players on the squad want to set a precedent for when the Devils move up to 4A next year, but more than anything he believes his seniors should be the pacesetters.
“Brittany Peterson, one of our defenders is a very smart player,” Cope said. “She’s been a stalwart for the last few years. She hasn’t played for us yet this season, because she got a concussion playing in the state hockey tournament. We’ll be happy to have her back.
“Midfielder Lauren Arnold is a physically strong player, the leader of our team. Keegan Garnsey, a striker, she hasn’t played yet this season either. She wasn’t available yet this weekend, because she was at the (Alpine) World Cup Finals in Italy. She’s pretty knowledgeable, and pretty competitive. Another one, (forward) Heidi Lauterbach, we think she can score goals. She sees the game really well. Jhandrey Acavedo is the most positive person in our squad. She’s just in love with the game. Destia Day, another forward, she’s very skillful and can came off the bench and provide a spark.”
The Lady Devils also bring an experienced group of seniors into today’s match, although Katieb acknowledges that her squad is a very young group with a number of talented sophomores.
“We have probably as many if not more underclassmen than juniors and seniors,” Katieb said. “It’s a young team.”
Eagle Valley’s four seniors who will start today are defender Kirsten DeGroat, striker Sam Phillips, sweeper Jessica Jagger, and defender Julie Taylor.
Today’s soccer game isn’t the only Huskies-Devils rivalry game to take place in Gypsum.
Battle Mountain baseball makes the trip downvalley to take on Eagle Valley in its first game of the season, along with it being the first time that the club has even played outside.
“It’s kind of tough to say, because we haven’t even seen a field yet,” first year Huskies’ coach Jim Gannon said when asked how his team looked . “I have a quite a few hitters coming back from last year. We only lost two seniors. Last year, as far as I understand, we lost quite a few games by three runs or less. I expect with most of these kids being juniors now instead of sophomores, we should be able to turn the corner.”
The game is slated for a 4 p.m. start.
Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555 ext. 608 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.