Battle Mountain girls soccer beats Steamboat for league title |

Battle Mountain girls soccer beats Steamboat for league title

Chris Freud/Vail Daily

Steamboat Springs High School's Natalie Bohlmann, left, sends the ball up field past Battle Mountain's Molly Phannenstiel during the first half of Thursday's game at Gates Soccer Park in Glenwood Springs.

— Battle Mountain girls soccer remains the queen of the 4A Western Slope after the Huskies defeated Steamboat Springs, 3-0, in Thursday's league championship game at Gates Soccer Park in Glenwood Springs.

With the loss, Steamboat Springs was eliminated from receiving one of the region's automatic berths to the state playoffs. Battle Mountain, Montrose, Palisade and Durango have clinched those spots. The Sailors (8-6) still can grab one of eight at-large bids to be handed out when CHSAA issues the bracket on Sunday. A win against 5A Fruita in Steamboat at 6 p.m. Friday would help that cause.

It's Battle Mountain's fourth girls league title, won previously in 2007, 2008, and 2013. Huskies soccer also logged its fourth double with boys and girls championships in the same academic year.

"Tidy. We beat them, 5-0, 4-0, and 3-0. I don't want to play them four more times," joked Huskies coach David Cope, who is close friends with Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann. "It's special. The Battle Mountain teams that do well win the league title. If you don't win the league, it's hard to advance in the playoffs. What a great setting. (Assistant coach) Allie (O'Neill) and I were glad to be coaching, but what would we give to play on a night like tonight and a setting like this?"

Battle Mountain got off to a quick start as Acacia Ortiz sprang Logan Nash for a breakaway in the third minute.

And that put a crimp in Steamboat's strategy.

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"We were hoping to keep a cleaner slate longer," Bohlmann said. "That changed when we went down, 1-0, early. It's difficult to chase games, and we didn't do that” in the first half.

A few minutes later, Battle Mountain's Emily Cope landed hard on her left hip in a collision with Steamboat's Carolyn Walters. Cope did not return to the game, while Walters received a yellow card, but it was clear that there was no malicious intent.

Nash gave the Huskies some breathing room in the 30th minute with a rocket from well outside the box. The shot found the left corner for a 2-0-halftime lead.

Steamboat made Battle Mountain sweat in the second half, throwing everyone forward.

Yet, as has been the case this season, the Huskies’ defense rose to the occasion. During that stretch, David Cope instructed that back line to play higher to catch the Sailors in an offside trap.

While the Huskies didn't get the offside whistle, that strategy seemed to get the Huskies off their heels and moving forward. Ortiz to Melissa Lopez in the 61st finished it.

At that point, Bohlmann started subbing freely to rest his players for Friday’s Fruita game, and the Huskies started celebrating.

"It feels pretty good," Vickers said. "We've definitely been training and focusing to win this game. We've had small-side games and other drills, just taking it a few minutes at a time in practice, so that when the game comes, we're good."

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