BHS humiliated by Salida will face enemies for the first time
Hungry to avenge a season-ending loss to Portland FC on Thanksgiving Day in the 2021 MLS Cup Chase Western Conference semi-finals, the Colorado Rapids face the Timbers for the first time in 2022 on Saturday, and the Bayfield Lady Wolverines will be there to cheer them on – capping off a road trip that includes matches against two new foes.
In addition to continuing team ties en route to and possibly inside Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – site of all four 2022 CHSAA State Championship games (to be played May 24-25) – in Commerce City , BHS will first face Loveland Classical Academy at 4 p.m. on Friday, then challenge Windsor Charter Academy at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
If the positives outnumber the negatives, the excursion away from a dashboard run will be the most beneficial.
“Yeah, we had to go through Salida,” said head coach Chris Zoltowski. “They’re a quality team, they have good communication, their passing is phenomenal – I knew it would be a challenge for us.”
Getting another taste of life at the Manitou Springs in the upper heights of the 3A Tri-Peaks League, Bayfield trailed 4-0 at halftime on Tuesday and eventually fell 9-0 to visiting SHS ( 6-3, 2-1 TP). Seven different Lady Spartans scored at least one goal, with sophomores Hayden Bevington and Julz Anch each scoring twice to lead the charge.
Sophomore Eva Capozza and junior Elise Bosanko were each credited with two team-leading assists, and junior goalkeeper Makiah Parris was rarely threatened as the Lady Wolverines (6-5, 2- 3 3A Southwestern) were playing knowing Mattie Moore was injured. would likely miss the rest of the season.
But the boss saw Tuesday’s defeat as an opportunity for his players not only to earn a few stripes, but also to test themselves in unfamiliar roles with little to lose.
“I decided that we were going to start putting the young players in positions…to see where they could fit better in a competitive atmosphere, as opposed to just ‘training,'” Zoltowski said. “It’s something I’ll be happy to try this weekend.”
“The two most notable are Tanna Owens as an outside midfielder and Kambrie (Byrd) on the defensive line,” he said. “I was really happy with what I saw and hopefully…let them play in those positions throughout the season.”
“And girls like Jamaica (Garza), who played central defense his entire high school career,” added Zoltowski, hinting that the strong-legged elder could become a primary front-line weapon, rather than a force multiplier anchoring the rear. “Now she has the opportunity to try something different – and go have fun!”
Not that LCA or WCA will be a breeze.
“Windsor, they’re, like, a growing little school, so I don’t know if they’ll be…a challenge,” Zoltowski said. “But…we wanted to play them. Of course, we were also trying to get to Denver for a Rapids game, and (my wife) Rae Jean said, “Oh! I know their athletic director; I went to high school with her!’ So it worked; we were able to set up a game! From there, we only had to hunt for a second.
Loveland Classical became that second, albeit first on the schedule.
Before hosting 2A Mile High-West rivals Union Colony Prep of Greeley on Thursday (results not available at press time), first-year head coach Juan Orozco’s Lady Lions had a record of 5-5 overall and a 3-2 third place in the league behind Evergreen. Alexander Dawson School based in Clear Creek and Lafayette – No. 5 and 7, respectively, in this week’s CHSAAAnow.com Class 2A poll. Dawson is also the defending state champion after a record 15-4 loss to the 2A SWLers Telluride, setting new marks for the most-scored state championship and biggest state championship goal differential.
“I think… it’s going to be a great game,” Zoltowski said. “I got to see them on film and…it looks like they’re a pretty tough team. But I think they’re going to be a good match for us; they use the same formation, have a lot of the same tactics – I’m really excited to see how this one plays out.
Hoping to become a CHSAA Full Member Sporting Institution for the year 22-23, Windsor Charter hosted Aurora-based Vanguard Classical-East on Wednesday and beat the Lady Hawks 10-0. Vanguard is another current independent member, but likely a member of a brand new Foothills 2A/3A league next spring along with LCA, WCA and others. The win set up Sarah Drips’ Lady Firebirds well for Friday’s trip to 3A Loveland Resurrection Christian (who didn’t field a team in 2021), ahead of Bayfield’s arrival on Saturday.
“We really don’t know anything about them,” Zoltowski said, “but they really don’t know anything about us.”
Besides the fact that Rae Jean Zoltowski (née Elmore) and WCA AD Lindsay Yost both attended Mancos Hight School, with the former graduating in 1997 and the latter in 1999 (as does the current longtime head coach of BHS Josh Walton).
“Let’s you know how small the world is, right?” joked the BHS skipper.