Prep notebook: Huskies claim girls and boys lacrosse wins
Battle Mountain girls topple Eagle Valley 11-5 on the road and the boys roll over Mullen 14-1 at home
Spring sports are back in full swing, and so are spring rainstorms. The Battle Mountain girls and boys lacrosse teams made it rain on a wet Wednesday night, too, picking up a pair of wins in two contests. The Huskies girls defeated Eagle Valley, 11-5, in Gypsum while the boys rolled over Mullen 14-1 at home in their season opener.
“It’s always fun playing Eagle Valley in that it’s just so competitive. The kids want to win so bad, so it’s a really feisty matchup,” said Huskies head coach Mat Ballay. “We ended up winning, so it was a good result.”
The Devils girls came into the game fresh off an 11-10 victory over Grand Junction on Saturday. Clearly, they were excited to keep the momentum going in the rivalry matchup — the Devils traded goals with the Huskies as the score remained 3-3 early in the second quarter.
“They came out firing,” Ballay said. “The intensity was there on both sides. They have some really talented players who are super competitive and we weren’t communicating on defense. So, we weren’t really playing as a unit and we were allowing those players to hurt us.”
“We started with a lot of energy and came out looking great in terms of ball movement and defense,” said Eagle Valley head coach Genna Randall. “About halfway through the first half we just took our foot off of the gas pedal and they took advantage of that. We got a little momentum back late in the second half but it was a little too late.”
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Ballay said defensive communication was a theme for Battle Mountain coming into the game after a season-opening 13-5 win over Fruita Monument was followed by a 15-5 loss at Denver East on Monday. The Huskies tightened things up on defense and limited turnovers on offense in the second quarter, which allowed them to create a three-goal lead going into halftime.
“Once we started kind of dropping on our rides and really defending, that’s when we started generating extra possessions and that’s when the game really started to open up for us,” Ballay said.
Molly Kessenich and Alexandra Dienst led the way with three goals and freshman Izabelle Kovacik added two more, but Ballay was impressed by multiple players’ performances — even those not easily discerned from a quick glance at the scorebook.
“It’s easy to look at the stats and see who is scoring the goals, but one thing we communicated quite a bit on offense was creating space for our dodgers,” he said, pointing to the movement of senior Sofia Rindone as an example.
“She doesn’t end up in the stats, but she’s creating space so that our girls who are great at attacking the goal have space to dodge.”
Cassidy Kinzler, who caused three turnovers and scooped up a ground ball, was another key contributor in the win.
“She’s made herself into a varsity starter on defense by just having a great work ethic and attitude and she had a huge game for us,” Ballay said. “It’s really exciting to watch as a coach to see that kid come along so well and contribute to the team.”
The Huskies (2-1), host Montrose on Saturday before kicking off a busy week with a visit from Aspen next Tuesday. The Skiers were 10-0 in the league last year and handed Battle Mountain its only two league losses in 2022.
“That’s always an incredibly difficult game — they’ve won our conference for as long as I’ve been around, so a lot to look forward to,” said Ballay, whose team will also travel to Summit next Thursday before hosting the defending state champions from Green Mountain at the end of the week.
“I anticipate the girls will be up for that one, but I don’t want to overlook what we have on Saturday,” he said. “I think with Montrose, we just need to stay disciplined and work on the things that are fundamental to our program — not being selfish, communicating on defense, creating space and being patient on offense, not taking the first look but the best look.”
Eagle Valley (1-2) will look to rebound at Summit this Friday.
“Our team played hard and fought til the end,” said Randall. “Something we’re really emphasizing putting in max effort this season and taking pride in what we do. Going forward, we know we need to play a full game with this mentality and tweak a few things and we can pull out a win.”
Randall said the Devils are eager for the rematch with the Huskies on April 14.
“We know Battle Mountain is a very comparable rival and were looking forward to the game,” the coach stated. “I’ve coached about half of their team during club season and knew that it would be w fast paced, offensive game. We just need to match their intensity level next game.”
Meanwhile, down in Edwards, the Huskies boys picked up a season-opening win, crushing Mullen 14-1. The Huskies won’t have much time to sleep on the victory, though, as they’ll head up I-70 to face Vail Mountain School on Friday. The Gore Rangers are 0-1 after falling to Eagle Valley, 9-7, last week.