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Steamboat next for hot Huskies

BMGS Emily LyBarger PU 4-12-08
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EDWARDS, Colorado ” Tuesday is a very big day for Battle Mountain girls soccer and it’s not just because it’s Tax Day.

While doubtless the Huskies’ 1040s are in order, Battle Mountain hosts Steamboat Springs at 3 p.m. at Freedom Park with essentially the league title on the line.

Battle Mountain moved to 7-0 in the 4A Slope by smashing Delta, 8-0, Saturday morning. Steamboat enters Tuesday’s showdown at 7-2-1, technically one point ahead of the Huskies in the standings.

And don’t doubt for a second that the Huskies haven’t had this game circled on the calendar since the schedule came out.

“We know when we play them there, and when we play them here,” said senior midfielder Emily LyBarger, who’s a veteran of seven of these contests. “We always look for them.”

The series

Current students at Battle Mountain quite frankly are spoiled by the soccer program’s recent success in both the fall and the spring. The boys have won four straight league titles with a 7-1 mark against the Sailors during that reign. The girls can take a large step toward a second-consecutive crown with a win Tuesday.

The history of this rivalry is contrary to the Huskies’ current success. On the girls’ side, the Sailors lead the all-time series, 13-2-3. When one considers that Battle Mountain’s two wins ” including a 2-0 victory at Steamboat last month ” and two of its ties have come in the last two-and-a-half seasons, this matchup has been decidedly tilted toward the northern end of Highway 131.

“Every year, we look for Steamboat,” said senior Kelly VanHee, who should know. Her older sister, Kate, also played in the rivalry. “To have a competition in your league like that is really good. I look forward to playing Steamboat. We obviously get really nervous. It’s something we look forward to.”

Just say the name Kelly Labor, whose Steamboat teams terrorized the Slope to the tune of a 52-1-1 record, to any member of the Huskies, and that will bring back bad memories.

While Labor mercifully ” from the Huskies’ viewpoint ” graduated in 2006, Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann has a new group of talent coming through the program. The Sailors are young and talented, somewhat akin to what this year’s Huskies were two or three years ago when they started challenging Steamboat for league supremacy.

“In terms of skill and savvy, they’re really good,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “They’re well-prepared. They’ll have to match our athleticism. That may be an important part of it. Can we impose our rhythm of play and our tempo on them? It’s not really a secret. I’m not revealing anything to Rob. We play at a higher-tempo game. That’ll be key. We don’t want to allow them to slow the pace of the game down.”

And making this series all the more intriguing is that Cope and Bohlmann, good friends off the pitch, have been coaching against each other for a combined 21 seasons in the spring and fall, dating back to 1993.

“You’re going to see a good Steamboat team, who’s well-coached and well prepared,” Cope said. “Sports are about playing against people you respect and admire and you try to outwit them and you try to prepare yourself to give yourself a little bit of an edge.”

Crunch

Battle Mountain set up Tuesday’s game by running over Delta with a lawn mower on the artificial turf of Freedom Park.

The Huskies scored four goals early in the first half to close this one down. Marisa Ammaturo got her hat trick quickly. That’s 15 goals on the season for the sophomore, if you’re counting at home. Lizzie Seibert logged two more (13 tallies to match her jersey number), both from Stephanie Woodruff. Kelsey Plath had her third goal in two games and Emily LyBarger had her usual stellar game with a score of her own. Josie Tuthill had two assists in her varsity debut.

The Huskies’ main focus, though, was Delta’s Stephanie Sporer, who had 20 goals coming into Saturday’s contest. Maddy LyBarger got the assignment and held the senior scoreless.

“Awesome,” Emily LyBarger said. “Anytime she tried to get the ball, Maddie was breathing down her neck. I think she turned once the entire game.”

That one time Sporer turned upfield for a breakaway, McKenzie Stevens stripped her of the ball with a perfect tackle.

In another development which bodes well for Battle Mountain’s future, the Vail Valley Soccer Club U-10s knocked off Glenwood Springs, 7-0. Ansley Burnett, yes that Burnett, and Emily Cope hat had tricks, which are tremendous accomplishments at any level.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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