Battle Mountain too much for Steamboat girls soccer team

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— Tight, grueling games and tense final moments have marked the intense rivalry between the Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs high school girls soccer programs. The teams played twice in 2013, for instance, and neither team won either game, each ending in a tie.

Saturday was an entirely different story, however, and as the clock ran down, the only thing to be decided was whether or not Steamboat would score.

Battle Mountain roared in Steamboat Springs on Saturday, blasting the Sailors, 5-0, for a big early-season victory.

“It’s not a setback, but a measuring stick,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “The measuring stick right now is saying Battle Mountain is a very good team.”

The Huskies took control of the game early and maintained it with an iron grip thanks to careful passing that bred long possessions. Again and again, it led to shots on goal. Steamboat goalie Ocoee Wilson made several stops, but Battle Mountain was persistent, eventually getting a goal from Logan Nash, another from Melisa Lopez on a lob over Wilson’s head for a second and a third in the first half, a sharp shot from Nash again that Wilson got a hand on but couldn’t stop.

It was 3-0 at halftime and feeling nothing like a typical game between two of the Western Slope’s strongest programs.

“We finally got the passing under control,” Huskies senior Bridgett Courtois said.

“We realized instead of trying to push forward all the time, we can just pass around until we find gaps. That’s how we can score goals,” senior goalie Mindy Vickers continued.

It worked.

Steamboat was better in the second half, holding Battle Mountain’s offense farther from the goal and piecing together several strong possessions of its own. Vickers was tested with several quick runs.

She answered every time, however, and Steamboat wouldn’t score.

Battle Mountain, 2-0, poured in two more, one from Morgan Croke and another from Molly Phannenstiel.

“It’s a big win,” Vickers said. “To have a shutout against Steamboat is, honestly, amazing.”

The result left the Sailors, 1-1, looking to that second half when they had more opportunities.

“We were much better in the second half, not sitting back but stepping forward,” Bohlmann said. “We were able to defend better as a group instead of sitting back and letting them knock it around. Now we just need to work on our attacking patterns and keeping possession. We’re really happy with the adjustments we made, especially down 3-0.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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