Labor lifts Steamboat over Huskies
EDWARDS – The calendar said that Thursday was St. Patrick’s Day, but in truth, it was really Labor Day.Steamboat Springs’ Kelly Labor broke a scoreless tie in the second half with two goals and assisted on a Linsay Ellis marker as the Sailors left town with a 3-0 victory over the Battle Mountain girls soccer team on a frigid afternoon at Freedom Park.”It’s great,” Labor said. “We always come to Battle Mountain, looking for a game and we got a game and it’s always nice to come out with a W, instead of the other end.”There has been no other end for Steamboat in this series. The Sailors have never lost to the Huskies in the female edition of the rivalry. Battle Mountain’s best result against Steamboat was a 1-1 tie on April 23, 1998.The win also gives the Sailors (2-0), the two-time defending Slope champs, an early edge in this year’s title chase. “For both teams coming into it, it was a challenging game in the early season,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “We definitely have our challenges. I know (Battle Mountain coach David) Cope’s missing a couple key players. We had to head right into it right away.”
Labor-ing Both teams played an even first half with the field leaning Steamboat’s way for the first 20 minutes and the Huskies controlling the final 20. Coming onto the game, Cope’s strategy was to keep an eye on Labor, as well as trying to force Steamboat’s wide players inside, a gambit which worked for the most part.The Sailors encountered some difficulty when backliner Betty Sasak went down with an injury, forcing Bohlmann to pull back Labor from striker to the midfield. To start the second half, No. 14 moved up back up front.Steamboat drew a free kick early in the second half and Labor roped it in from around 25 yards out for a 1-0 lead. “I saw Linsay who was the other forward,” Labor said. “I was going to go a nice little slot to her. But then, the near post opened up. The wall scooted over a little too much and it was there.”Minutes later, Ellis had a perfect throw-in to Labor. That put Labor 1-on-1 with Huskies goalie Alexis Guinn and the Sailors were up, 2-0.
“That’s what special players do,” Cope said. “They wait for that one chance. That’s why she’s your the player of the league. She was last year as a sophomore. It’s not scoring five goals against weak teams. It’s scoring two goals against what I think is a pretty good team in us.”Labor to Ellis closed out the competitive nature of the game midway through the second half.Black-and-gold glassesThe emotions on Battle Mountain’s bench ranged from disappointment to “woulda, coulda, shoulda,” to essentially, “See you May 5th,” when the two teams meet again in Steamboat.Cope debated the question of whether 3-0 was the actually difference in quality between the two teams and then took his black-and-gold glasses off.”Lots of coaches like to say that, don’t they? It was. It was 3-0,” Cope said. “We didn’t score a goal. You’re not going to win a game if you don’t score a goal. But we put in place a game plan. The girls executed it pretty well. We couldn’t fault their effort. They worked so hard out there. I felt we were knocking the ball around against good players.”
Battle Mountain certainly had its chances, especially in the second half, but Sailors goalie Kirsten Ryan was there every time.”There were a couple efforts at goal from Battle Mountain and Kirsten did all the right things,” Bohlmann said. “Her position and hands were solid and any opportunities that Battle Mountain created, she was there and covered it well.”Just for kicksSteamboat’s next game is at Glenwood at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Battle Mountain is off until Thursday when it’s at Rifle at 3 p.m. … Note to Huskies fans with older schedules: There is no game at Moffat County Tuesday. That tilt has been moved to April 26. … Quote of the day from Bohlmann: “It’s cold.” Thanks, Coach. … Cope had big postgame props for Stephany Walker and Kate Van Hee for their defensive efforts. The latter won “The Bag,” for best defensive play. Gionbottiglio went to freshman Emily LyBarger. … Bravo to the Grill Gang and anyone who stayed for all 80 minutes. Medals should be awarded. The boys’ club season starts Saturday at 1 p.m. Be there – Eric Feldman is playing – soccer, not instruments. … Assistant coach Jen Davin wanted her name in the paper and who are we to deny the divine Davin?Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Daily