Steamboat soccer downs Battle Mountain, 2-1

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— Give Round 1 to Steamboat. 

In seemingly one of the best rivalries on the Western Slope — one that’s covered years of close games and league championship-deciding games — the Steamboat Springs High School boys soccer team got a pair of Hanson Buchner goals to down Battle Mountain, 2-1, on Saturday at Gardner Field. 

“It was pretty indicative of two competitive teams,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “I think in the end that we were able to do enough, especially in the second half, to continue to create quality opportunities.”

Buchner put Steamboat (4-0-1, 2-0-1 in league play) up in the 30th minute when he snuck one past the Battle Mountain goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead, marking the first time this season the Sailors scored the first goal of the game. 

The Huskies (3-1-1, 2-1) responded in the second minute of the second half. Struggling to score, Battle Mountain coach Dave Cope encouraged his defense to press up in the attacking third.

It worked to perfection as Joe LyBarger got deep on the end line and sent a cross to Huskies defender Roberto Diaz and volleyed it out of the air to tie it at 1. 

“We asked him to push up in the second half, and he scored a great goal out of the air,” Cope said.

The Sailors started to get the run of play from there with each team trading opportunities. Steamboat hit the crossbar on a corner, and Battle Mountain had chances on a breakaway and a free kick. 

Finally, in the 75th minute, Mac Noel was taken down in the box, and Steamboat was awarded a penalty kick. 

Buchner made good and gave Steamboat a 2-1 lead. 

For each team, there were some positives, but obviously there were more for Steamboat. The Sailors got over their slow starts and tightened up defensively. The team also was the first to score more than one goal against Battle Mountain all year. 

“The difference in the game was we had a much more of an attacking presence that created the go-ahead goal,” Bohlmann said. “Today was our day.”

Battle Mountain, in a stretch of three road games at Eagle Valley, Steamboat and Moffat County, have moved through the tough early portion of their schedule, and the team thinks it will be there at the end of the season.

“We have a lot of home games at the end of the season,” said Cope, whose team beat Eagle Valley last week and plays at Moffat County on Tuesday. “We’ve had a lot of away games. If we can hang on and stay in touch, we feel like in the second half at home we could really do well. We like our chances in the return game with Steamboat but know it’ll be tough.”

Steamboat next plays at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Glenwood Springs.

To reach Luke Graham call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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