Huskies open on the right foot
EDWARDS – Julia Burnett and Kelsey Sanders did not combine for a goal in Thursday’s season-opener against Delta.So is the Dynamic Duo, good for 58 goals in 2006, slumping?”Definitely not,” Huskies midfielder Emily LyBarger with a laugh. “(Today) it will come.”After a slow start by the Huskies’ standards, LyBarger got things going with a goal in the 35th minute. Burnett added two and Sanders had one (independently of each other) and Sydney Nichols got her first varsity goal as Battle Mountain cruised, 5-0, over the visiting Panthers.Thus, as LyBarger said, any silly musings on the chemistry between Burnett and Sanders can wait until today’s game against Palisade at Freedom Park in Edwards at 4 p.m.One question will be, “How many goalies will the Huskies play?” Against Delta, Battle Mountain likely set a school record with five players – Sanders, Kaeli Hosler, Kori Landauer, Leia Cahill and Burnett – combining for a shutout.In all fairness, Delta was missing six starters who are playing for Hotchkiss and Paonia in the 3A and 2A state basketball playoffs, respectively. At the same time, Battle Mountain was in control the whole way, and the Panthers did not record a shot on goal, making the quintet’s shutout all the easier.”It took us a little while to get going as far as finishing chances,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “We still were keeping possession pretty well.”It’s a new puzzle, so you’re looking to get the pieces together. You have new people. It’s just good to get going. You’re at the end of the third week (of practice) without a scrimmage. They’re just looking to play someone else, instead of playing against themselves. They were just excited to get that game under their belts.”
“We just had to throw something together because I didn’t have most of my varsity team here,” Delta coach Julie Mottern said. “We had several freshmen playing, so that gave us a chance to see them. This was a great learning experience for them.”Slow startBattle Mountain did everything but score in the first 35 minutes of game. Sanders spent the first 20 minutes of the opening half as the goalie. Once she moved up to striker, the Huskies got going.Rightly, LyBarger, having helped maintain possession for sustained periods of time, got the first tally of 2007 with a chip shot into the right panel.”It got popped up,” LyBarger said. “Kelsey was coming back and I was going forward. I called her off, got around the goalie and put it in the back of the net.”LyBarger set up Burnett with a lovely pass just a minute later, and the Huskies were off to the races.El Syd
Battle Mountain quickly put things away early in the second. Marisa Ammaturo slammed her shot off the crossbar, but Sanders knocked home the rebound for a 3-0 lead. Burnett followed by losing two Delta defenders and finding the back of the net for her second.Delta then got whistled for a hand ball in box. Nichols got the honor of taking the penalty kick. No stranger to pressure situations having won a state title with the volleyball team last fall, this was a new one for Nichols.She looked left, but went right for her first varsity goal.”I think it’s really funny,” Nichols said. “This year, I’m playing defense, and I scored. Last year, I was playing midfield and I didn’t score. I always felt like I had a bunch of shots and never finished. This year, it’s the first game. It felt good.”While it was difficult to assess Battle Mountain’s goalie experiment, the early returns on Battle Mountain’s back line of Nichols, Jamie Lee Roberts and McKenzie Stevens were good.”Morgan (Wallace)’s been the leader in the back for the first three years I’ve been coaching,” Cope said. “Sydney really took up the reins of that position. She just has a presence. You can see it on the volleyball court, too. There’s just a confidence in her.”The fullbacks reversed the ball well and were cohesive with the midfield with Roberts and Kelly VanHee connecting on the right side and Stevens and Ammaturo doing the same on the other.Just for kicks
Gianbottiglio, a statuette passed around to each game’s most valuable player, went to Sanders. … The required snow for the season opener came in the second half. … With the basketball playoffs consuming Delta’s roster, Battle Mountain did not have to face the Panthers’ Stephanie Spor, one of the league’s leading scorers. The Huskies will see her March 24 in Delta.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Slope scoresThursdayBattle Mountain 5, Delta 0Palisade 1, Rifle 0Moffat County at Glenwood Springs, postponed
Upcoming gamesFridayPalisade at Battle Mountain, 4 p.m.SaturdayGlenwood Springs at Eagle Valley, postponed until March 24TuesdayBattle Mountain at Eagle Valley, 4 p.m.