Steamboat Springs Saturday's lacrosse game had been over for a couple of seconds before Steamboat Springs senior Mehana Campbell realized that her team had beaten Columbine.
"I had no clue that we had won," Campbell said. "I thought we were tied."
But as her teammates ran onto the field jumping and screaming Campbell figured out that the Sailors had escaped with an 8-6 win in the second game of the day. Earlier the squad lost a heartbreaker with Golden, 7-5.
"It's a lot harder to try to hold on than it is to come from behind," the veteran player said.
Campbell was speaking from experience. The Sailors' defense and goalie Carlie Adamo spent the final minutes of Saturday's game holding off a furious Columbine attack. When the final whistle blew the bench exploded onto the field as Steamboat picked up its second win of the season.
"The last couple of minutes it seemed like we just couldn't seem to get it (the ball) out of our end," Adamo said. "The only thing I wanted was to get it out."
Columbine struck first in the seesaw battle between the two teams. Ashley Biekarck scored on an unassisted effort to give her team the lead. Biekarck finished the game with four goals all unassisted.
"She was a lot faster than our players," Adamo said. "My heart kind of stopped when I saw her coming down the field."
However, Steamboat's offense was also hard to stop and managed to shift into high gear a few minutes into the game. Lauren Baumann led the effort with four goals of her own. Bryn Weaver, Shelly Dunlop, Heather May and Amanda Leftwich also scored for Steamboat. The team got assists from Tracy Norman, Sharon Norman and Baumann.
Sailors head coach Chris Polumbus also cited Tracy Norman's efforts at picking up loose balls as a key to the Steamboat win.
But it was Shelly Dunlop's goal early in the first half that evened the score. Baumann followed it up a few minutes later to give the Sailors a 2-1 lead.
But Columbine came to life and goals by
Biekarck and Katie Patrick gave the Rebels the lead with less than a minute remaining in the half.
Baumann wouldn't let her team go into the break trailing, however.
She stole the ball from a Columbine defender behind the net and then drove to the front of the goal and scored with a nice twisting and turning effort that left the defense flat footed.
The goal knotted the score at three and shifted the momentum to the Steamboat side. The local girls would maintain it for the rest of the game.
The two teams traded goals at the start of the second half, but back-back goals by Leftwitch and Baumann midway through the second half gave Steamboat the cushion they needed.
A late goal by Biekarack pulled Columbine to within one, but Steamboat shut the door with scores by Weaver and Baumann in the closing stretch. Adamo, who finished the day with 11 saves, and the Sailors defense did the rest in the closing minute of the game.
The contest was the second of the day for the Steamboat Squad. Earlier the team lost a heartbreaker to Golden 7-5.
Baumann had four goals and one assist in the game. Shelly Dunlop also scored and Sherwood Dunlop had an assist. Adamo had five saves in the game.
"There defense was tough," Baumann said of Golden. "We just were not picking up the loose balls in the first half and we didn't make that good of shot selection.
Golden was led by Courtney Kreller and Jessica Behunin. Both players had two goals each in the game.
Tobi Vermillion, Catelin McCuster and Kristin Mcaugh also scored in the game for Golden. Visiting goalkeeper Jenny Keeley had 16 saves in the game.
"We definitely had a few jitters in the first half of that game," Baumann said of the contest against Golden. It was the Sailors first home game of the season and they wanted to make a good impression on the hometown fans.
She felt the turning point in the contest was when Golden netted back-to-back goals.
"This game is all about momentum," Baumann said. "Once it gets going it just sort of snowballs."
Steamboat is now 2-3 for the season and sitting in good shape to make the end of season playoffs.
"The win against Columbine should get us in to the state playoffs," Sailors coach Chris Polumbus said. "I'm not sure, but the top four teams go. That win should get us the No. 4 spot for sure."
The Sailors will wrap up the regular season next weekend at home with a league game against Wheat Ridge and a non league game with Kent Denver. The Wheat Ridge game will start at 11 a.m.