Vista co-op field hockey spreads the goals

Posted 9/17/10

For years now, no one has been able to call Mountain Vista High School’s co-operative field hockey team a new program. Having become a …

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Vista co-op field hockey spreads the goals


For years now, no one has been able to call Mountain Vista High School’s co-operative field hockey team a new program.

Having become a playoff-hungry varsity team, and having grown in numbers and rosters, other teams in Colorado know when they play the Golden Eagles they’re in for a tough time.

Pooling members from the Douglas County School District and some from Littleton Public Schools in the past, Mountain Vista returned to the field for 2010. And with their scoring potential and personnel alone, opposing teams may have to work that much harder when they face the green and gold this year.

Again the head coach of the program, Brian Nutter said he was fortunate to pick up a few new players this season, including Lindsey Amador, a junior who came from out of state, and Grace Goodbarn, who came to the field with a background in ice hockey. In addition, Nutter had a lot of players who stepped up to a varsity role.

“Honestly, all around, it’s probably the most solid team I’ve ever had, hands down,” Nutter said. “I can trust putting anyone on the field at any time and feel real good about it. As a coach, that’s one less thing you have to worry about.”

The Golden Eagles’ co-op hasn’t had trouble scoring like it has in past seasons. With the talent it has on the roster for the new season, Nutter said there are two lineups of forwards, each of whom can score.

Also, a lot of the girls on the entire team can find the back of the net, which gives balance, the coach said.

“It keeps people guessing,” Nutter said. “(Opponents) can’t just keep on one or two players. They have to worry about the whole team, in terms of scoring. As you look at the distribution (so far this season), I’ve had about 11 different girls score this year. It’s nice to see that.”

Katie Koch, a senior captain, said the additional experience combined with the athleticism of new players from last year’s returners should prove the difference for Vista.

“We’ve definitely come far from last year,” Koch said. “We’ve improved. We’ve got a lot more experience. We are much better contenders than we were last year. … Last year, we had a lot of new girls with not much experience. This year, they’ve grown and have had a lot more playing time.”

Like any coach will say, the team still has areas to work on. Some fundamentals still need attention, but at least scoring is not the concern this season.

“We’re learning to continue the momentum you have when you’re starting off pretty well,” Nutter said. “There’s certain aspects, certain skills we need to continue to work on.”

Valerie Buccio, also a senior captain, said keeping composure and a cohesiveness among the team is also what should make the Eagles special this season.

“As long as we play as a team and continue to not let fouls bug us (like against Fort Collins Fire), there were a few calls that could have gone either way, but we have to just keep our heads in the game and keep going and be the team we are,” Buccio said. “We haven’t had too many struggles. We’ve come together as a team real well. I think (the Fire game) was the first time we’ve even gotten cards.”

Nutter agreed the team has bonded well. Other seniors filling out the roster this season include Akane Strader, Logan Smith and Nicole Lewis. Several players also play girls lacrosse in the area, like juniors Kasey Griese (Chaparral co-op) and Abby Szlachta and Strader (ThunderRidge co-op).

However, it’s the community of field hockey in Colorado that attracts Koch to the sport.

“Everybody in the field hockey community is really close,” Koch said. “I’m personally close with a lot of friends on other teams, opponents. Everyone in the entire sport is very close, and we pretty much like each other.”

Without every school having its own program, and several having to create co-operative teams, Buccio enjoys the chance to make connections with players in other communities.

“I like how it combines different schools, so we have a chance to meet a lot of new people,” she said.

The Mountain Vista co-op opened the season with a 3-1 win over Cherry Creek and followed up with an 8-0 win over Cheyenne Mountain. The Golden Eagles also put up a 3-0 win at home against Fort Collins.


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