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Huskies repeat as champs

Daily file photo/Preston UtleyThe Battle Mountain girls soccer team celebrates its first $A Slope title in Edwards last year after beating Rifle, 6-0. Saturday, the Huskies clinched their second title in a row, winning at Rifle, 4-1.
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RIFLE, Colorado ” The symmetry was delightful.

Just as Battle Mountain girls soccer, poised to capture its second-straight 4A Slope crown, kicked off in Rifle Saturday, Huskies coach David Cope received a text message from Marco Orduno, a member of the school’s boys soccer team, which has won four league titles in a row.

“I got a text message from Marco,” Cope said. “He wished us good luck and said it would be sweet for both teams to clinch the title on Rifle’s home field.”

Back on Oct. 4, the boys dumped Rifle, 5-1, to clinch their crown, and the ladies followed suit Saturday with a 4-1 win against the Bears to make themselves queens of the Slope for the second consecutive year.

“I think it says a lot for our program,” Huskies senior McKenzie Stevens said. “It’s really cool to show that last year was not just one strong year. We’re continuing to build and we’re showing that the soccer team is here to stay. We’re maintaining the reputation we’ve developed for ourselves.”

Not only is there a certain pride that the Huskies are the masters of the league both in the spring and fall ” the soccer teams have won six titles in the last four school years ” but title No. 2 or No. 6, depending on how one views it, is special because of all the older brothers and sisters and friends who have played in the uniform during this run.

“Having a league title is definitely satisfying, especially not just for this team, but for all the girls who were on the team when I was a sophomore ” my sister (Kate), Stephanie Walker and Morgan Wallace,” senior Kelly VanHee said. “I’m going to call my sister today and let her know and she’s going to be happy. We’re happy about winning, and I think the older girls appreciate that, too.”

And Saturday seemed like one of those days when everything lined up perfectly in the world of local soccer. As if to emphasize the point, both the Battle Mountain and Vail Mountain, which pulled a stunning upset at No. 1-ranked Basalt, 5-4, ended up at Quedoba, a burrito joint in Glenwood Springs, after their games and ended up celebrating together.

“We had a victory lunch. Ten minutes into our chat, (VMS coach) Bob (Bandoni) asked me how we did,” Cope joked.

Hockey or soccer?

Rifle’s pitch is narrow and that leads to some physical play. Saturday was no exception. VanHee and the Bears’ Ciera Euler, who had tangled in the team’s first meeting of the year in Edwards, renewed acquaintances again.

Euler dumped VanHee early in the match, but as those who have watched Battle Mountain soccer well know, the Huskies senior doesn’t take much from anyone. VanHee and the rest of the Huskies did what good teams do in such situations ” stay focused on the task at hand.

“It was definitely a battle between us,” VanHee said. “It was frustrating at times to keep cool. We were trying to be competitive, but classy.”

Midfielder Maddie LyBarger got a knock to the back of her head away from the play and was spelled well by Allison Edwards. Battle Mountain’s soccer and track teams got a scare when Jamie Lee Roberts also went down awkwardly on her shoulder. Cope at first feared that Roberts, a fullback in soccer and an excellent 800-meter runner as well, broke her collar bone, but the senior toughed it out and was OK.

Good night

And somewhere in all the tough stuff, the Huskies managed to put away the Bears. At the nine-minute mark, Kayla Telles fed Marisa Ammaturo on a short corner kick from the left side. Ammaturo took two dribbles and cracked it into the net.

The Huskies used the more conventional corner for what would be the game-winning goal. Ammaturo sent one of her patented crosses into the box and Kayla Telles came up with it.

“I didn’t expect it,” Telles said. “I thought Lizzie (Seibert) was going to get it. I had time for a shot and picked a corner. It was awesome to score.”

Ammaturo to Josie Tuthill made it 3-0 at the half. In the 53rd minute, Telles and Ammaturo hooked up on a carbon copy of their first score of the day. Rifle scored in the 68th, but the Huskies had clinched back-to-back titles.

“It’s awesome for that to happen,” Cope said. “It’s gratifying, especially in the manner that the girls have done it ” wire-to-wire. This group has a lot of pride and versatility. They’ve won in a lot of different ways. We’re awfully proud of them.”

Don’t talk about it

At 13-0, a perfect regular season is in sight. No Battle Mountain soccer team has run the table. Last year’s girls team went 14-0-1 with a tie against Steamboat Springs. In 2005, the boys entered the final game of the season with a 14-0 mark, and were upset by Summit County in overtime.

This year’s team doesn’t want to hear about 15-0 just yet.

“No, not quite yet,” Telles said. “It’s an unspoken thing right now. That would be awesome, but not quite yet.”

Battle Mountain hosts Moffat County Tuesday at 4 p.m. in Edwards for Senior Day. There’s also a road game at Glenwood Springs, always a tough place to play, Thursday night.

“We’re 13-0, but we still have Senior (Day),” VanHee said. “All the seniors want to win the final home league game. We’re going down to Glenwood, and that’s always a competitive battle. We can’t take what we have for granted. We’re 13-0 and we’re not looking at 15-0 yet.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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