Loss to Huskies means Bears playing for third
EDWARDS ” Credit Battle Mountain girls soccer’s Kelsey Abbott for her honesty.
“We always say, ‘We’ll take it one game at a time,'” she said. “But the truth is we’ve all been looking forward to (Steamboat Springs). We can say that we were all thinking about Rifle. This is probably the last time and the first time any of us are going to play for a championship.”
The Huskies (12-1 Western Slope League and 13-1 overall) dusted off Rifle Saturday, 5-1, at frigid Freedom Park to set up Thursday’s showdown with the Sailors (11-0 in league).
“If you said at the beginning of the season, ‘Would you like to get to the end of the season, have the playoffs assured, be top 10 in the state and then get to play one game for a league title?’ We would have taken it,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “That’s the situation the girls have worked themselves into. I think we deserve to do it. At times, we’re just playing some great soccer. At times, I think we could stack up with anybody in the state.”
Saturday was Senior Day for Battle Mountain, and Cope started all 11 of his 12th-graders. They returned the favor by putting up a 2-0 lead after 40 minutes. Senior Allison O’Neill made it 1-0 on a helper from fellow senior Alexis Guinn, who got a rare debut in the field in the first half so that senior goalie Killion Hunn could get the start.
It was seniors again on goal No. 2 as Stephany Walker fed Berkeley Chipman.
“We played a really good first half where the play was midfield or in their end, and we didn’t capitalize on any chances,” Rifle coach Tom Taucher said. “They countered twice on us and scored twice. They countered really well. They have speed outside, and they went wide on us. They finished them well. That’s quality soccer from their side.”
The quality soccer continued in the second half as Battle Mountain’s regulars shuffled onto the pitch. Emily LyBarger took a Kate Van Hee pass and slammed the ball into the open net.
LyBarger was on the helping end as the Huskies upped their lead to 4-0. Kelsey Sanders did the honors. O’Neill from Sanders capped Battle Mountain’s scoring. That was her second goal of the game.
“Finally,” O’Neill said. “It feels good to get past the one-goal curse. We save the three for Steamboat.”
Chelsea Webb then scored Rifle’s lone goal.
Rifle fell to 7-5-1 league and 8-5-1 overall. The Bears are at Glenwood Springs at 4 p.m. Thursday in a game which will decide third place in the league. The Western Slope League will send five teams to the state tournament, but Cortez and Montrose both come into the picture at the end of the season.
Steamboat, Battle Mountain and the winner of Thursday’s Glenwood-Rifle game are definitely in the playoffs. Odds are pretty good, given Montrose’s mediocrity, that the loser of the Thursday’s game will also earn a spot.
“We’re a young team, and we’re playing well,” Taucher said. “We wanted to rebound. We played at Delta, and we played horribly, even though we won. We were looking for a better effort from our team. We had a good first half, and then we gave one away right away in the second half, and then we started to play back into it. We’re just looking to get 80 minutes of good soccer.”
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Fans, players and coaches on both sides of Stubler Memorial Field seemed to know it would come down just the way it did, regardless of who had the ball at the end.