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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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
“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
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
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
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