What US women’s soccer teaches us about preps | VailDaily.com

What US women’s soccer teaches us about preps

Chris Freud
KRISTIN ANDERSON |

So, the one of the biggest locks for gold at the Rio Olympics went bust as the U.S. women’s soccer team lost to Sweden, 2-1, and, 4-3, on penalty kicks on Friday.

About the only more surprising thing that could haven would be for men’s basketball, the latest incarnation of “The Dream Team,” were to be upset.

The ladies had won the World Cup three times, and have made the Final Four of the tournament every time since its inception in 1991. Since 1996, the team had won the Olympics four times and silver once before Friday’s game.

In FIFA’s ratings system, the United States has been ranked No. 1 or No. 2, never lower than those positions.

We’re not here to bash the red, white and blue, but to use this as lesson for the upcoming high school sports season.

Never. Ever. Take. Anything. For. Granted.

We’re No. 1 … maybe

Milesplit.com has been spitting out preseason rankings all summer that indicate possible greatness for Battle Mountain cross-country, both boys and girls. The prognostications have the Huskies boys and girls sweeping Region 1. On the state level, the girls are projected as state champions, while the boys are sitting on the No. 6 spot.

It’s kind of surprising that some of the most vocal readers of this section are cross-county fans. When milesplit.com forecasted the Huskies girls as the bes in the region, a fan on Facebook wrote, “please SHARE their results IN YOUR PAPER!!”

We have, but this is why we do so with a grain of salt.

Is it unreasonable to think the Huskies girls are the favorite in the region? No kidding, Sherlock. They’ve won their region, whatever it’s called, five years running. No. 1 in the state? Perhaps a bit of a reach, but not crazy, given how the ladies have performed at state the past five years.

The boys are up-and-coming, and, with Durango’s Olympic Team in another region, are legitimate as region favorites, but they’re using their No. 6 state ranking as motivation. (Good. Resting on laurels is not allowed.)

Battle Mountain cross-country is a really good program, no doubt, but one bad day, one day when athletes aren’t focused, and the best-laid plans go in the trashcan. Seriously the cross-country season is about 40 minutes long between regionals and state.

Never. Ever. Take. Anything. For. Granted.

Fancy coffee

Oh, but the way, CHSAA released its preseason rankings for other fall sports on Friday. Voted on by distinguished members of the press — woo-hoo, I’ve got a vote — and coaches, Vail Mountain School soccer is No. 2 in the state in 3A and Battle Mountain is No. 6 in 4A.

And that and $6 can buy you a fancy cup of coffee at Starbucks. (By the way, when did coffee get so complicated? Enough inner-monologue. Come on back, Freud.)

Battle Mountain knows this well after its quarterfinals exit against Standley Lake last fall. We won’t rehash the details, but the Huskies were the better team and shot themselves in the foot. That is the motivation of 2016.

Yes, I voted Vail Mountain School No. 2 behind Kent Denver, and the state agrees with me, as it should, he wrote, humbly. Before we all get on Interstate 70 and head down to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Nov. 12 to play Kent, the Gore Rangers have a few games on their slate.

By the way, the U.S. Women’s team is better than Sweden, but, as our local soccer teams know, it can be a cruel game. Eagle Valley vs. Glenwood Springs in the opener last year? The Devils were clearly the better team and the Demons won, 2-1, in OT.

You make your breaks by working hard everyday in practice.

Never. Ever. Take. Anything. For. Granted.

And if you haven’t gotten the point

The 4A Slope volleyball race ended in a mosh pit last year with Steamboat Springs at 12-2, Eagle Valley at 11-3 and both Delta and Battle Mountain at 10-4. The 2A Gore League had West Grand and Vail Christian going down to tiebreakers.

In races like these, you have to bring it every day.

In football, yeah, Eagle Valley should have three wins in the Slope with Battle Mountain, Glenwood and Summit County. Should is the key word. Upsets happen when a team isn’t focused and ready.

Battle Mountain football should beat Basalt. Of course, the Huskies should have done so last year, too. Penalties, penalties, penalties.

Are we seeing a theme here?

Never. Ever. Take. Anything. For. Granted.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.