Huskies welcome Steamboat, Fiveash
April 23, 1998.
It was the last time Battle Mountain girls soccer took a point from 4A Slope perennial power Steamboat Springs. The Huskies and Sailors battled to a thrilling 1-1 tie, which marked the emergence of the girls soccer program in Eagle-Vail.
The Huskies coach that day was Hillary Fiveash, who lead the team for its first five years, leading the Huskies to four straight state berths from 1998-2001.
The Huskies are back in the state chase for the first time since that 2001 season, and so is Fiveash. When Battle Mountain (5-0 in league) takes on Steamboat Springs (6-0) in a showdown for 4A Slope supremacy Tuesday at Freedom Field in Edwards at 4 p.m., Fiveash will be in the stands cheering for the Huskies.
“It’s a great thing,” Huskies head coach David Cope said. “She was an assistant coach for me. We share a lot of common beliefs about the game and we have a special relationship as far as being able to share ideas about the sport. She knows a lot of the kids. It’s going to be great to have her out here, and we hope to put on a performance that she’d be proud of.”
“It’s going to be most exciting to see Cope and (Steamboat coach) Rob Bohlmann,” Fiveash said over the phone from Reno, Nev. “We’re going to have the old coaches’ camaraderie. It’s also going to be fun to see Lauren Arnold, Brittanny Peterson and Keegan Garnsey. All of those girls were freshman when I was there and now they’re young women.”
And they’re young women who are definitely on a roll. After an 0-2-1 nonconference start, Battle Mountain has turned into a league contender. The Huskies have reeled off five in a row in league without allowing a goal.
Both teams’ results are fairly consistent. Steamboat has thumped Moffat County twice, while Battle Mountain has done so once. The Sailors beat Palisade, 2-0; the Huskies won, 1-0. Steamboat has a 3-1 win over Glenwood. Battle Mountain beat the Demons, 3-0. The Huskies took Delta, 6-0; Steamboat beat the Panthers, 3-0.
With two evenly matched teams, what it likely boils down to is Steamboat’s offense, which has been the model of consistency with the likes of Kelly Labor, Jessica Dover, Lindsay Ellis and Ann Barney against Battle Mountain’s defense, which has been absolutely rock solid.
“We’ve got to be concerned about possession of the ball and be very efficient in the attacking third,” Bohlmann said. “Their issue will be to match up against our attack and defend as well as trying to find the goal. That poses some very interesting things in the pregame.”
Cope essentially agrees with Bohlmann.
“They’ve allowed some goals and we haven’t,” Cope said. “We want to keep it low scoring. We obviously have a huge amount of respect for them and we’re going to have to contain their attack. We’ve been talking about how they switch positions well and spread the ball.
“But, we feel we’ve been really connected and organized. If we can hold the game close, we have a couple of kids like Lauren Arnold, Christie Madison, Keegan Garnsey, Destia Day and Emily Baskins who could make the difference.”
One intangible in this game is experience. The Sailors are used to sitting atop the 4A Slope, whereas this is really new ground for the Huskies. Bohlmann sees this as a mixed bag for both teams.
“Certainly with the establishment that our girls have had over the years is an advantage,” Bohlmann said. “But being the underdog and the new up-and-comer which Battle Mountain has proven to be, maybe that’s a disadvantage for us. This game is a true testament to both squads’ hard work and commitment to their programs.”