Seibert lifts Huskies past Summit in Edwards
EDWARDS ” Last year, Battle Mountain girls soccer bounced Summit County with five first-half goals on the way to a 6-0 victory. Thursday, The Huskies topped the Tigers, 5-0.
That having been said, these two games were completely different. Battle Mountain led only 1-0 after 70 minutes on a snowy Thursday afternoon at Freedom Park in Edwards before the Huskies finally broke away with four goals in the last 10 for what will look like an easy win on paper.
“That last 10 minutes was pretty rough on us. It was pretty much a 1-0 game,” Summit coach Stephanie Johnson said. “I don’t think the score reflected the style of play out there. I’m really proud of the girls. I think this is one of the best matches we’ve had against Battle Mountain, regardless of the score.”
While Summit could legitimately take pride in its improved performance, Battle Mountain got a good afternoon of competitive soccer, something sorely needed after an easy 12-0 win Tuesday against Eagle Valley and in advance of Saturday’s 4A Slope showdown at Steamboat Springs at 10 a.m.
“I definitely don’t look at being challenged as a negative thing, because coming into Steamboat, we’re going to be put to a challenge,” Huskies senior Kelly VanHee said. “I think this game was great to have right now before Steamboat. I kind of opens our eyes to where we need to step up.”
The Tigers were coming off a 10-2 loss last week at 3A powerhouse St. Mary’s, and were seeking to slow down the notoriously offensive-minded Huskies.
Playing a flat-four backline with no sweeper did the job. Battle Mountain didn’t score until the 34th minute of the first half on a laser from Lizzie Seibert.
“It was all the basic defensive skills, not letting your player turn, giving them room, supporting your teammates, knowing when to man-mark, knowing when to zone-mark,” Johnson said. “All these things are going to become second nature to these girls.”
Sophomore Summit goalie Jozy Gessner also helped. The Tigers are definitely happy she came out for soccer instead of rugby.
“We weren’t sure how she’d play at the beginning of the season,” Summit defender Chloe Balma said. “She’s showed herself to be a really big help back there. We have confidence in her.”
While the lion’s share of the game was played in Summit’s end, Battle Mountain’s defense finally got tested after breezing past Eagle Valley Tuesday. The Huskies contained Hannah Harvey, Summit’s main offensive threat.
Battle Mountain goalie Maddy Trtnj made some key stops and the Huskies’ Jamie Lee Roberts made a beautiful open-field tackle to stop Harvey on her best scoring chance in the second half.
“I thought we were really aggressive in the back and Maddy was talking really well,” VanHee said. “She was pretty loud and helped us with organization and confidence. … (Harvey) had a couple breakaways and we tried our hardest to preserve the shutout. We were really aggressive with her without committing fouls.”
Battle Mountain’s sustained pressure finally bore fruit. While midfielder Emily LyBarger is generally the focal point of the Huskies’ attack, it was fellow midfielder Seibert who scored or assisted on her team’s first three goals.
LyBarger and Seibert finally got Battle Mountain to play out wide and that was the trick. Seibert fed Stephanie Woodruff on the right flank. From a very tough angle, Woodruff put her shot literally on frame. It hit the near post, but caught the left panel for a 2-0 lead.
On the Huskies’ third goal, Seibert had a beautiful through ball against the flow of play to Rachel Gordon for her first goal of the season.
“(Seibert)’s coming into her own. She’s not overshadowed by Emily,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “She complements Emily. She does different things. Emily is a little more dominant physically. Emily will take over the middle of the field. Lizzy just finds her spots around her. She’s a bit sly. Man, that’s a nice pairing in the middle.”
It was the Jenny Banner Show for the Huskies’ final two tallies. Marisa Ammaturo assisted her on the first and LyBarger on the second.
“It’s nice for the old coach to have a Banner scoring goals,” Cope joked.
While Jenny is the younger sister of Andy Banner, who helped lead the boys soccer team to a league title in 2004, Lizzie Seibert is the little sister of bother Peter and Tony Seibert, also Huskies soccer alums. And in another nice note, Battle Mountain scored five goals without either LyBarger or Ammaturo, who had hat tricks against the Devils Tuesday, scoring a goal.
Big league games
Summit (1-2) heads down to its home away from home ” Lakewood Memorial Field ” today for its Jeffco opener against Conifer at 5 p.m.
“We play some really tough teams,” Johnson said. “The more games we play like this, the more we see where we start to break down, which happened to be the last 10 minutes, the more we can work on that and not have it happen again.”
Meanwhile, Battle Mountain (2-0 overall and 1-0 in the Slope) is off to face its archrival, Steamboat, Saturday. Huskies won last year’s season series with a win in Edwards and a tie on the road.
“Steamboat is always the kind of game when you’re on the bus, and your stomach is turning inside-out,” VanHee said. “But all you have to do is turn that into positive, excited energy. We get so psyched to play Steamboat, and it’s definitely the best competition beside the playoffs we have all year.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.
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