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This is a sweet championship

Chris FreudVail CO, Colorado
On Soccer
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Battle Mountain went the entire winter without winning a league title, but the ladies of Huskies soccer have ended the drought.Wow, a whole six months without a title. For those who have been around Battle Mountain for many years, it’s funny to complain about this paucity.Seriously, hats off to the Battle Mountain girls’ soccer team for winning their first Slope title with a 7-0 victory over Rifle Saturday. Huskies of all sports have been making league titles a ho-hum thing, but this is a special championship.While athletic director Rich Houghton orders some more letters, numbers and thread for the banner in the gym, a few thoughts:

– A salute is in order to those who went before. While most in Huskies Nation were anticipating this title since last year’s team lost to Liberty, this didn’t start with practice in February nor when coach David Cope took over the program in 2004. Cheers to Hillary Fiveash and Kate-O (Connor). The likes of Molly Marquez, Jackie Pirog, Addie Robinson, Christina Aiello and Allie O’Neil and Morgan Wallace all share in this.- I seem to be writing a lot of winning-league columns lately and a bunch of them seem to involve Cope. With the exception of England’s early exit in the World Cup, it’s been a good year for him. United’s leading the English Premier League and in the semis of the Champions League. And Cope’s done a pretty good job with soccer in Eagle County.This is two league titles in one year with the gents in the fall three-peating and the ladies picking up the hardware Saturday. These were two distinctly different teams. The boys, despite being two-time defending champs, were not a seasoned crew. Cope brought them along and the boys ended up winning a state playoff game on the road for the first time in school history. This Huskies of the spring were expected to win. As we all know from volleyball season, this is easier said than done. Cope has had this team focused all season on the task at hand, while slowly building up for the bigger goal, a run in the state tournament. – As is typical Cope, he thanked just about everybody except for the Academy after the Rifle win. Major kudos to assistants Jen Davin and Chuck Bunting as well as Joel Rabinowitz.

– The biggest surprise of the season has been that Cope is starting three freshmen in Marisa Ammaturo, Madelyn LyBarger and Lizzie Seibert. It’s no secret that Cope prefers to go with upperclass people, but this trio forced the issue. The future is bright.- I know every team in every sport says, “This year’s team has better chemistry than last year’s.” It’s true with this bunch. A lot of times, a team’s senior leaders can’t handle new blood. It’s a credit to young and “old” that the Huskies make it work.- Please note that we’ve gotten this far in this column without mentioning the Dynamic Duo – Kelsey Burnett and Julia Sanders. (Just making sure you were reading.) They didn’t score as many goals as last year – yet – and that’s fine. They have done what good strikers do, create space and chances for their teammates. Most importantly, they care about winning. Everytime, the Huskies have achieved a first this year, Sanders’ response has been “It’s about time.”- The big question mark heading into this year was replacing Wallace in back. Greetings, Sydney Nichols. Along with McKenzie Stevens and Jamie Lee Roberts, the back has remained steady. By the way, look for some disobedience in the postseason.- Kori Landauer was upset after giving up a goal against Glenwood Thursday. Part of me finds this amusing. After all, the team has surrendered all of three this season. Part of me likes this. Landauer doesn’t like to lose in anything – volleyball or a meaningless goal. Gotta love it.



– Oh yeah, the “other” LyBarger, Emily. No. 6 is as steady as they come. Her game Saturday was a classic. She assisted on the first three goals and scores the fourth. Not bad.- The Kellys – Bowles and VanHee – have been a tandem all season in the middle or in back. How many times has VanHee made a run which ends in a goal and how often does Bowles just find the ball in the box? Often, and that was good news.- Delta is Tuesday. This is no time to slip up – 14-0-1 looks a lot better to the seeding committee than 13-1-1. If the Huskies take care of business against the Panthers, something between Nos. 5-8 should be in the offing for the postseason bracket. This is special group and we may be in for a ride this May. Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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