Preston Utley/Vail Daily
Steamboat's Hayley Brookshire, right, and Battle Mountain's Lizzie Seibert compete for the ball during the Sailors' 1-0 loss to the Huskies on Tuesday.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
A tie would have been fine in the standings for Battle Mountain girls soccer against Steamboat Springs on Tuesday afternoon.
"Even tying away at their house (last year, 0-0), I was disappointed," Huskies senior midfielder Emily LyBarger said.
The good news for the Huskies was that coaches David Cope and Jen Davin had decided before the game that in the event the game was close, they would play for the win, not the draw.
"We just felt like the kids deserved the chance to go for the win," Cope said.
With 20 minutes left in a scoreless game, Cope put an extra striker - Josie Tuthill on in place of fullback McKenzie Stevens, and in the 79th minute, Kelly VanHee fed a cross to Lizzie Seibert and Battle Mountain came away with a dramatic 1-0 win.
With the victory, the Huskies got their first season sweep of the Sailors - Battle Mountain won at Steamboat Springs, 2-0, last month -took a very large step toward defending their Slope championship and opened the door for a possible 15-0 regular season.
"When it comes to Steamboat, the standings don't matter," VanHee, a senior, said. "It's the competition that matters between us and them. Knowing that we have two wins against Steamboat under our belt. Knowing that, graduating is the most amazing feeling ever."
"I'm at like a gazillion feet right now. I'm this high," LyBarger said. "No one can reach me."
Battle Mountain moved to 8-0 in league and 9-0 overall, while Steamboat dropped to 7-3-1.
"You have to throw out a huge pat on the back to both groups. It was a battle," Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said. "They dealt with the conditions really well. It's fun to see when two teams battle like that. Specifically for our group, we are really proud of the way they responded."
While Battle Mountain had the majority of opportunities, Steamboat's flat-four defensive formation stymied the Huskies' potent offense.
"Our back four were heroic," Bohlmann said of Courtney Garth, Hope Scott, Carly Earp and Shelby Struble.
The Huskies had been averaging six goals per game going into Tuesday's match.
"I think maybe we were trying to push the ball through too many times, and it was running away from us instead of playing to our girls' feet and letting them turn," Cope said. "I think we had some good shots. I think we forced some good saves from their keeper. They were playing deep. There were numbers in front of us and not much space between their team (and the goal). We had to solve it."
Both teams had to contend with a howling wind that blew over Freedom Park more from the south than the usual western direction. Even with the aid of the wind during the second half, Battle Mountain was trying to play the ball on the ground to its players' feet.
"Trying would be the operative word," LyBarger joked.