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Whiteout to a rivalry

BHS soccer opens season late but against Durango JV
Andrea Zelinski, left, and Maddy Duran are two of Bayfield’s top four scorers from last season that return for 2015. They’ll have their first shot to play this season against Durango’s junior varsity team Tuesday.

Snow delayed the start of the Bayfield High School girls soccer season by three days.

Now the Wolverines will open the year with a rivalry showdown against Durango High School’s junior varsity team at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Wolverine Country Stadium.

BHS would have started the season Saturday at home against Salida like they did the previous season, but the late February/early March snowstorm disrupted their tryouts and access to practice fields.

They’ve been practicing in the gym, which hasn’t allowed BHS head coach Jen Zelinski to see an accurate portrait of her squad’s capabilities.

“It’s so hard to tell being indoors. That’s been frustrating. I know everyone else is in the same boat,” Zelinski said Thursday. “It’s hard to see who’s going to do well because the gym is so small. The week before the season started, we were outside in cleats having shooting practice in shorts and T-shirts. Two days later, we have a snow day.”

The lack of practice and tryout time has forced Zelinski to push back much of the preseason process. She hadn’t selected a varsity team yet Thursday and said she wouldn’t until sometime before the game.

“I talked to the girls (Thursday night) and let them know. They’re all frustrated, too, but we’re doing the best we can,” Zelinski said. “I’m not going to be picking any teams or promising any spots to any players because I just don’t know at this point.”

Only five of Bayfield’s players graduated last season, so the Wolverines do bring back an experienced player pool.

The seniors that graduated only combined for seven of the Wolverines’ 32 goals and five of their 19 assists, but they heavily contributed to Bayfield’s 10-win season in 2014 and its sixth consecutive state tournament berth.

“We lost a good corps of seniors – not the most skilled I’ve ever had but the best leaders I’ve ever had,” Zelinski said.

BHS possesses a bevy of returning talent that easily could step into that void. The Wolverines return three of their top four scorers from last year in junior Maddy Duran and seniors Meaghan Mooney and Andrea Zelinski.

There also may be a familiar face between the posts for BHS because last season’s starting goalie, Kailee Millard, will only be a sophomore.

Like the rest of the team, though, nothing is guaranteed. She’s facing stiff competition from freshman Savannah Kaufmann, and Zelinski hasn’t decided on a starting netminder at this point.

“The best thing anyone can have is competition because it’s going to make them work harder. They’re going to want it more – both of them,” Zelinski said. “It’s a hard decision to make, but it’s a good problem to have.”

So is the expectation of success that comes with six postseason berths in a row.

“We definitely want to continue to have (that success),” Zelinski said. “We don’t really feel the pressure. I want it. If the girls want it, the girls will do it. If I’m doing a good job, they’ll want to (achieve the success) with me. I feel like we have the talent to do it.”


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