Spring prep previews: Battle Mountain girls lacrosse looks to build off successful 2022 season
Huskies went 13-4 and were the 4A Western Slope league runner-up
The theme for the Battle Mountain girls lacrosse team heading into the 2023 season — which begins Friday at 4 p.m. at Fruita Monument — is to keep climbing.
“As a program, we are hoping to build off of the success we had last year,” said head coach Matt Ballay, who took the reins in 2020. “Ideally, we become a consistent program that always competes.”
The Huskies went 4-6 in 2021, Ballay’s first actual season (the 2020 season was canceled because of COVID) and 13-4 last year, including 8-2 in the league. Their only league losses came against Aspen, which ran the table with a perfect 10-0 mark. The Skiers, ranked No. 6 in the state in the CHSAA pre-season poll, graduated their three leading scorers, unlike No. 7-ranked Battle Mountain, which brings back some serious offensive punch.
“We had a few grads we will miss,” Ballay noted. “Marley Lindner and Lillian Sheehan were great leaders who understood how to balance focus and fun. Also, athletes like Cora Peto played important roles that don’t always show up on the stat sheet.”
Lindner was second on the team in goals (43), right behind Molly Kessenich (55) who returns for her junior year as the team’s Swiss army knife.
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“She does a little bit of everything from the midfield and is a key component of our squad — takes draws, plays great defense and was our leading scorer,” Ballay stated. The Huskies also bring back their third, fourth and fifth-leading scorers from last year with senior Alexandra Dienst (32 goals), Abby Dembeck (28 goals) and Carter Youngblood (22 goals). Ballay feels graduation probably hurt the defense more.
“As a result, we will rely upon Stella Campanale to anchor the unit with her experience,” Ballay said of the senior. Roxy Surridge is back in the goal after a sophomore campaign where she had an 11-2 record and 8.8 goals against average. “(She) put in a lot of work in the offseason,” Ballay said of Surridge.
Up and down the roster, the coach is pleased to see “great internal competition” this year.
“We have a strong freshmen class with multiple freshmen making the varsity squad,” he said. “It should help foster a competitive environment at practice and create a strong junior varsity team.”
Husky fans will get their first look at their team in Edwards against Montrose on March 18. Before then, however, they’ll head to Gypsum to face their rivals on March 15.
“As always, we look forward to playing our rival Eagle Valley in the home-and-away series,” said Ballay, who also noted a matchup at home against Green Mountain — the defending 4A state champions — on March 28.
With depth, star-power, scoring and motivation — all of the ingredients are in place for a special season. Ballay, however, remained coy regarding his team’s outcome goals.
“On a basic level, the goal is to get a little bit better every day,” he said.
“If we can do that, the rest will take care of itself.”