Remembering Liberty, Huskies ready for Denver South
EAGLE-VAIL – The Battle Mountain soccer team said everything correctly all regular season.Using clichés of which sports writers would be proud, the Huskies took every game one game at a time, treated every opponent like it was the best team they were the best team they were going to face this season and so on.But the Huskies were tactfully lying through their teeth. Today, the playoffs begin with No. 6 Battle Mountain hosting No. 27 Denver South at Freedom Park at 4 p.m.”We’ve always been able to focus on one game at a time,” Huskies striker Kelsey Sanders said. “In the back of your mind, this is your goal. This is where we want to get. From here, we just have to get it done.””Now we see how far we can go,” Battle Mountain midfielder Emily LyBarger said. “Our goal was to win league, and that was a great accomplishment. Now we’ve accomplished that goal. Now we want to go further in the playoffs.”
Playoff lessonThree-hundred-sixty-four days ago, then-No. 15 Battle Mountain lined up against Liberty in Edwards and lost, 2-0, in the first round of the playoffs. The Huskies have not forgotten what that felt like and are using it as motivation.”Knowing that every game could be our last game is definitely motivation,” LyBarger said. “Seeing what happened last year, we definitely want to avoid that at all costs.”Battle Mountain coach David Cope has seen, the Huskies crank up the intensity the last two days in practice since the bracket came out on Sunday.
“Since last year, going out a little bit earlier than they would have liked or expected, I think that they know that in the playoffs they have to be sharp or it’s over,” he said. “You can’t really turn that off. There’s a little bit of competitiveness and that’s good.”After being together as a team for nearly three month, Battle Mountain knows that cramming for a big game won’t do any good. As the saying goes “If you don’t know it by now…””And a lot of them have APs this week so they know that firsthand,” Cope said with a laugh.Facing the unknown
Although Tuesday’s first-round games were all lopsided victories for the teams favored by seed, the Huskies, hardened by experience do not expect the visiting Rebels to roll over. As noted on Sunday when the pairing came out, Denver South beat Thomas Jefferson, 2-1, and T.J. beat Steamboat Springs by the same score.The Huskies knocked off the Sailors, 3-1, in Edwards and tied them up in Routt County. And after that, that’s pretty much all they know about their opponent today.Rockypreps.com lists Elsa Picasso-Hobin as Denver South’s leading scorer with 10 goals. Catherine Knoth has nine on the season and Demetra Gotsopoulos and Abby Reynolds with six each.”I think the thing about preparation and scouting is that as the No. 6 seed, we should be imposing our game on the opponent,” Cope said. “We should be the ones dictating the flow and we should be the ones dominating the possession. That should be our mentality – to force people to react to us.”A known factor is Freedom Park. The Huskies gain from its regulation size as well as the speed of the turf. There’s also the Battle Mountain faithful.
“That’s definitely going to help us,” LyBarger said. “That’s more motivation for us. It’s just awesome to be on our homefield, our turf and with our fans. It’s going to be great.”Just for kicksCHSAA re-issued the 4A bracket Monday after the Jeffco League submitted incorrect poll information. The new bracket has Northern League champion, Niwot (15-0 in the regular season), as the new No. 1 seed. Cheyenne Mountain, the previous No. 1, is now no. 2, and Sand Creek dropped to No. 3. Cope agreed completely with the new seeding. “The No. 1 seed around the state was pretty consensus,” Cope said. “Nobody was surprised that the team that was 15-0 was No. 1. To come out of that league undefeated is pretty special.” … The top half of the bracket finished the first round and it was not a good one for the Western Slope. Broomfield ripped Steamboat, 8-0, and Fossil Ridge did in Glenwood Springs by the same score. In other scores: Niwot 12, Montebello 0; Greeley West 6, Centaurus 0; Regis 10, Widefield 0; Liberty 2, Cherokee Trail 0; Ralston Valley 10, Pueblo County 1 and D’Evelyn 3, Pueblo West 0.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.