Sailors end sad season

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— The Battle Mountain Huskies quickly recovered their poise after giving up an early goal to Steamboat on Friday night and cruised to their 14th win of the season on sloppy Gardner Field.

The Huskies won 3-1 on three first half goals. They take on Summit County today in their bid for a perfect regular season.

For the Sailors, the loss marked the end of a disappointing season, but they conceded nothing to Battle Mountain, even during a scoreless second half.

"We tried to come out with the same mentality we had during the last Battle Mountain game," senior Neal Ficker said. "We put in as much effort as we can. That's our motto."

Miguel Lomeli gave Steam--boat something to scrap for in the fifth minute of the first half when he snuck a dribbler past Huskies keeper Josh Ruark. The ball seemed to take forever to cross the goal, and although Ruark turned and looked for it, he couldn't track it down.

Battle Mountain came roaring back to score three goals in a 24- minute span that sealed the deal against Steamboat. Joel Gonzales got it started for the Huskies in the ninth minute, putting the ball past Sailor keeper Elliot Girard from the left wing.

Huskies fans got a scare when Gonzales limped off the field a few minutes after the goal. He was tackled from behind on a play that resulted in a yellow card for the offending Sailor. Gonzales was able to shake off the sprained ankle and came back on the field in time to watch Gustavo Bronfield put his team ahead.

Edgar Hernandez applied pressure on the Steamboat goal on a breakaway attempt. Girard was able to cut Hernandez off and sweep the ball away from him, but the ball caromed toward the center of the field. With no one minding the Steamboat goal, Bronfield pounced on it and drove it home.

Finally, Tyler Cole stunned the Sailors with a long goal off a set play. Cole fired a rocket from about 40 yards that went beyond Girard's outstretched hand and into the upper left corner of the net.

Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann acknowledged his team has been building momentum for next season since about the midpoint of this campaign.

"Our focus has been to get our guys to go out and battle," Bohlmann said. "We didn't do that the first half of the season, and you can't play good soccer until you do that. We've continued to take small steps."

Steamboat finished the season with a record of 2-11-2, with wins against Palisade and Moffat County.

Battle Mountain coach David Cope said he and his staff have worked hard to balance intense workouts with rest periods as the team prepares for the upcoming state playoffs.

"We went as far as breaking out the Frisbees one day this week," Cope said.

He's optimistic his team can represent the Western Slope well when playoffs roll around.

"We are what we are. We're a little team from a little village in the mountains," Cope said. "But I think you saw that we're very competitive, and our guys know how to keep their concentration."

-- To reach Tom Ross, call 871-4205 or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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