Huskies take another step, blank Palisade in Edwards
EDWARDS, Colorado ” Aside from the lack of warmth, Battle MountaIn’s soccer game Thursday against Palisade had all the earmarks of the dog days of summer.
The enthusiasm of the early season is naturally gone. The excitement of the playoffs has yet to arrive. It’s a time during the season when style points don’t matter and any win’s a good win.
The Huskies ground out a 3-0 victory over the visiting Bulldogs, moving to 12-0 overall and 11-0 in the 4A Slope, just a win at Rifle on Saturday away from a second consecutive league title.
“You just stick together and enjoy your teammates,” said Battle Mountain’s Jenny Banner who had two assists Tuesday. “You really have to have fun. We’re just trying to get something out of every game from each other, just raising the intensity.”
Though the games seem to come quickly during the compressed schedule of spring in the Rockies, the bottom line is that soccer teams are entering their third month of the season ” practice started back in February ” and motivation is needed.
“Emily LyBarger,” Battle Mountain junior Kayla Telles said frankly of the Huskies captain. “She pushes me to the extreme.”
While the Huskies are grinding toward the postseason, Palisade (3-8-1) is trying to end things on a positive note. After losing at home to the Huskies, 5-0, Thursday was an improvement.
“We played as a team. We’ve not been doing that recently,” Palisade coach Luann Ehlers said. “We played positive, and we played as a team. We didn’t give up. We felt like we had them on their toes. That was good.”
While the score was relatively close, Battle Mountain was never threatened. Kelly VanHee got Battle Mountain’s first in the fifth minute. Palisade hung tough, thanks in large part to goalie Amelia Davis, who was peppered all afternoon.
“I would give Amelia a day off, but she wouldn’t take it,” Ehlers said with a smile. “She always seems to want to work harder and find something to improve.”
In the second half, Battle Mountain broke it open with two scores. Banner placed a nice pass to Lizzie Seibert at the top of the box, and Seibert sent her shot past Davis.
With the wind howling out of the west, getting shots on goal down on the groundwas key and LyBarger did just that late to seal the 3-0 win.
“Emotionally, we’re tired. Physically, we’re tired,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “Tomorrow, we’re going to do some yoga and watch some video. We’ve got to remember we’re 12-0 and we’re doing fine. There’s a fine line between pushing them and pushing them too much. We demand a lot of them and the pace of our training sessions is high. We have to back off at the right time.”
Palisade hosts Glenwood Springs Saturday at 11 a.m. for its last home game of the season and Senior Day. Meanwhile, Battle Mountain, can clinch the Slope with a win at Rifle.
While Battle Mountain essentially wrapped up the crown by finishing a season sweep of Steamboat Springs last week, and the team’s goals are more playoff-oriented, making title No. 2 official is still important.
“As we said to the girls, there have been a lot of quality kids come through our program who never had a chance to play for a title ” Kate VanHee, Morgan Wallace, Liz Gladitsch, Allison O’Neill and going all the way back to (Christina) Aiello,” Cope said. “All those kids were just as dedicated to the sport and pushing this program higher and higher each year, creating a more competitive environment.
“Say what you want about the strength of the league, but we’ve only won it once. The table doesn’t lie. We’re not done yet ” one win and it is.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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