“Our small-sided passing is superior to other teams in the league, because we do have to practice on a basketball court. It helps the girls learn to be more potent with their control of the ball, since they have to be much more exact on a court compared to on a field,” Forestier says.
Yet snow still tends to put a wrench in Telluride’s early season game plans: The team had to bow out of their first scheduled games of the season in Cortez in early March, due to treacherous winter driving conditions on Lizard Head Pass. Historically, the team has had to miss at least a game or two on account of still-snowy conditions in high-altitude Telluride.
Practicing on a basketball court does, admittedly, leave Telluride at a disadvantage in some arenas. Playing indoors isn’t exactly helpful for players’ long-ball passing skills, nor can players get much in the way of on-goal shooting practice. Lady Miner goaltenders aren’t helped by the indoor practice set-up, either.
And yet once the team does make it to early season games at lower-altitude climes, everything seems to click. The team has started the last three seasons undefeated.
“We’re really hoping to do the same thing this year,” Forestier says. Telluride’s starting offense is strong, with all returning players comprising the lineup. Meanwhile, 2011 will be a building year for Telluride’s defense, since last year’s League Championship-winning defensive lineup had been wholly comprised of graduating seniors.
This year’s team looks “really strong,” Forestier admits, with a bevy of skilled freshmen joining the team as well as a strong group of sophomores stepping up to join the team’s seasoned upperclasswomen.
Forestier says that, atypical pre-season practice regiment aside, Telluride has had one very significant advantage over other teams in recent seasons: That is, a squad that is overall better conditioned than their competition.
“We have very few girls on the team who aren’t playing another sport, right up until our first practice,” Forestier says, noting that between hockey, basketball, and skiing, nearly every Telluride player is already in tip-top shape come the start of the spring soccer season.
“Fitness is really our biggest strength in the beginning of the season,” she says.
The Telluride Lady Miners will test out their soccer legs in scrimmages in Cortez and Montrose, before heading into the heart of the season with games against Pagosa Springs, Ignacio, Bayfield, Alamosa, Center, and Ridgway. Their first home game is scheduled for after Spring Break, against Ignacio on April 22.