Steamboat-Battle mountain soccer rivalry to decide league leader |

Steamboat-Battle mountain soccer rivalry to decide league leader

Steamboat handles Montezuma-Cortez

The Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team had little trouble with non-league foe Montezuma-Cortez Saturday as the Sailors routed the Panthers, 8-0.

Junior Jordi Floyd knocked in three goals, her second hat trick of the season. Natalie Bohlmann had two more, while Mackenzie Gansman, Ellese Lupori and Megan Garret-Connelly each found the back of the net.

It was Floyd's second goal of the game that really opened Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann's eyes. Bohlmann called it the Sailors' "play of the season," as four players were involved on a beautiful cross-to-header score.

"It was like, wow, it doesn't get any better than that," Bohlmann said.

— Earlier this winter, Battle Mountain girls soccer coach David Cope shot Steamboat Springs coach Rob Bohlmann a text that shows just how close the Huskies and Sailors programs really are.

In the text, Cope said, was a photo of a couple of his Huskies players sporting, of all things, Steamboat Soccer Academy T-shirts.

The two high school varsity squads play each other at least twice a year, and despite the rivalry that has brewed between the two longtime coaches and the players they lead each season, the Huskies and Sailors have massive similarities and common bonds, including the Huskies’ frequent attendance at Steamboat’s annual soccer skills camp.

“I think Rob and I do so much coaching together in the summertimes in Steamboat camps that we share a lot of ideas,” Cope said Sunday. “It’s fun then to match up and see the tactical changes within a game.”

Those tactical maneuvers will again be on display Tuesday in Edwards, as undefeated and No. 8-ranked Battle Mountain hosts the now 6-1 Sailors in a game that will decide who sits atop the 4A Western Slope League standings for now.

It’s been a long time since the Sailors have knocked off the two-time defending league champs. In 2013, the two squads went at it twice, both games ending in overtime ties. Last season, Steamboat lost three times to the Huskies by a combined score of 12-0.

But the Sailors are on another type of streak. They sit at 6-1 overall, their best start since they reeled off an 8-1 start to the 2011 season. Both teams return a wealth of talent from the past few seasons, making the buildup to Steamboat-Battle Mountain round one as exciting as ever.

“Playing Battle Mountain is one of those things you don’t have to even bring up to the team,” Bohlmann said. “Everyone realizes what it means when the Huskies and Sailors play.”

Bohlmann said that more than anything, it’s up to his team to seize the opportunity and focus on the things it knows it can control and not spend much time worrying about the Huskies’ perfect record.

It’s hard to ignore what Battle Mountain has done this spring, however. The Huskies have allowed their opponents to score in just two of their six games, and they are blowing teams out by an average margin of five goals per win.

“We brought back a ton of goal scoring from last year,” Cope said. “Our challenge was to find a new back four and goalkeeper, but as far as our attackers, the combination of skill and touch, we have that in abundance.”

Steamboat has no shortage of firepower, either. Floyd, a junior, is now in full soccer mode after a delayed start to the season due to her competitive skiing commitments. Floyd already has a pair of hat tricks this year. Fellow junior Natalie Bohlmann is also leading the way in scoring with 10 goals this spring.

Battle Mountain’s one-two punch of Emily Cope and Logan Nash has gashed opponents with 22 combined goals this season — 11 each.

The challenge on paper is there, but Coach Bohlmann and company are less concerned with the gaudy numbers and more focused on what they can get done Tuesday in Edwards. The game kicks off at 6 p.m.

“It’s all about the opportunity,” Bohlmann said. “It’s all about us. If we don’t have the right hunger and intensity, it’s a lost opportunity. Playing stronger opponents like this is what develops you as a team.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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