Huskies down Devils, 7-1, in Gypsum
GYPSUM, Colorado ” It was hard to tell after Saturday’s Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley soccer game who won by six goals.
The Devils celebrated, while the Huskies had a few quiet moments on their bench. Actually, Battle Mountain (9-0 in the Slope, 10-0 overall) had cruised, 7-1, over 1-10 Eagle Valley. But the Devils got their goal late, giving them a reward for their efforts and reversing the spirits one would expect from two teams in a 7-1 game.
“That was big,” Devils coach Francois Nanin said. “We had no occasion on the goal (earlier in the game). That’s how defensively we were playing. (The Huskies) were playing in our half for three quarters of the game. So we have one shot and one goal. That’s good.”
“At this time of the season, you’ve got to celebrate the successes they’ve accumulated already,” Huskies coach David Cope said, after trying to remind his team that it won the game handily. “Our group’s done really well. Having said that, they’re a competitive group and it’s not a surprise to see them react that way. It was good goal. Eagle Valley’s come a long way. It was a good lesson in sports. No matter what happens, you keep going until the end.”
And one end is in sight for the Huskies. They need seven points in their last five games to clinch their second Slope title in a row. Wins next week against Moffat County Tuesday, Palisade Thursday and Rifle Saturday will do the trick.
“I’m pretty sure it’s in the back of peoples’ minds, but nobody’s talking about it,” Huskies sophomore Stephanie Woodruff said. “But it’s really huge for us to try to do it back-to-back. We’re building quite a good program now.”
Having been rolled 12-0 in the season opener for both teams, Eagle Valley did fare better against Battle Mountain the second time around, but the Huskies were firmly in control from the first whistle.
Battle Mountain’s Emily LyBarger broke the seal in the seventh minute, cracking a beautiful shot from the left side. LyBarger struck again in the 15th on a helper from Lizzie Seibert. Five minutes later, Woodruff got her second of the year.
Eagle Valley was trying to limit Battle Mountain’s attackers to two steps with the ball to negate the Huskies’ athletic advantage.
“You cannot play 1-on-1 in the midfield with them,” Nanin said. “Those guys are very, very good players.”
The Devils were more successful with their strategy in the first half than in the second. Seibert got lose early in the second half on a deft pass from Kelly VanHee and upped Battle Mountain’s lead to 4-0. Marisa Ammaturo stole the ball off a goal kick and ripped the twine.
Sophomore Josie Tuthill recorded her first varsity goal on a nifty left footer. And not-so shockingly, Ammaturo and Seibert produced another highlight reel goal. Seibert one-timed Ammaturo’s cross into the net in a goal eerily similar to their combination against Glenwood Springs earlier this month.
“It’s kind of like, ‘Damn, that was really cool,'” Woodruff said with a smile.
Eagle Valley became only the third team to find Battle Mountain’s net as the Devils kept pressing until the whistle. Nicole Luczkow connected with Pearl Nanin and Eagle Valley’s bench erupted.
Whatever tension there might have been coming into Saturday’s game was quickly smothered. Earlier in the season, Francois Nanin had called Steamboat Springs the best team in the league, a statement which turned heads in Battle Mountain’s camp.
Nanin went to great pains to wish Battle Mountain well in the postseason.
“We have to be proud of ourselves. We progressed,” he said. “When you play against the best team like this, it’s tough. You know they are better than you. I’m proud of Battle Mountain. They’re going to the playoffs with all those guys in the league. We wish this year that we have a Western (Slope) team go beyond the second round, that they can show how we play in the mountains.”
There was one scary moment Saturday when Eagle Valley’s Mikala Nevin, while forming a wall with her teammates, on a Huskies’ free kick unfortunately took a ball to her head from LyBarger. Nevin, who has had concussion problems in the past, left the field gingerly, understandably groggy.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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