Friday, September 6, 2002
Steamboat Springs Hometown favorite Kyle Nelson had two huge goals in the Sailors' home opener Friday, but the biggest shot of the night came from visitor Brendon Kukral just a few minutes into the first overtime period.
The Niwot flanker unleashed a hard blast after taking the throw in from teammate Nathan Diller. The ball glanced off the left goalpost and somehow spun behind Steamboat goalkeeper Kelly Carlson into the far right corner of the net for the game-winning score in the 3-2 contest.
"It's just bad luck." Carlson said. "That's all it is because our team played well."
Carlson, who had five saves in the contest, is hoping the game will be a learning experience for the Sailors.
"We are just going to learn from our mistakes. We had a couple of runs where we were knocking the ball around good and then a couple of times when we were back on our heels," Carlson said. "There is just so much to learn from these close games."
When the Sailors were knocking the ball around good, they were able to make it pay off against an opportunistic Niwot team that kept the ball between the 20s for most of the night.
Nelson provided the Sailors' first offensive spark. He collected his first goal on a penalty kick after being taken down just inside the goalkeepers box at the 9:41-mark of the game.
"It's always disappointing to lose a close game like that," Nelson said. "But the effort was there and it's nice to see we are taking steps toward where we need to be."
Unlike the rain that dampened the grass on the high school field, Nelson's opening score failed to dampen the Cougars' resolve to get back into the game.
"This was a great game for us," Niwot coach Cotton Burden said. "We needed a more competitive spirit on this team and this game really seemed to bring it out."
Niwot came out determined in the second half, and within a few minutes of play, it had created several solid-scoring opportunities. Carlson and the Sailors defense turned most of them away including a hard shot less than 15 minutes into the period that was punched over the goal by the Steamboat keeper.
Carlson would make another spectacular save with 30 minutes left in the half by denying Cougar Michael Henzel's hard shot in front of the net with a diving effort. Unfortunately for Carlson, the ball bounced in front of the net, where Niwot's Ryan Griffith was waiting to put it away.
The Sailors jumped back into the lead with 20 minutes left to play. Once again Nelson gave his team the lead. He took a throw in from the sideline and blasted it past Niwot goalkeeper Ryan Salber for the go-ahead goal.
"When you play good teams you can't let down," Nelson said. "It was in and out at times tonight. We know we need to play consistently for 80 minutes in a game like this to get the result we want."
But after regaining the lead, the Sailors let down one more time with just over 10 minutes left in the game. Niwot took control of the ball at midfield and quickly built the attack with Michael Henzel driving the final shot into the net to tie the game.
"We played bits and pieces of some very good soccer," Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said after the game. "There were some positives and some negatives as well. Overall they worked extremely hard, and to have the tough loss in overtime like that is very disappointing. But we have to keep going forward."
Steamboat's next step will come at 11:30 a.m. today at Dudley Field against another 4A powerhouse, Centaurus.
"We just have to go home and forget about this game and the disappointment and look forward to the next game and playing as good as we can," Steamboat senior Gunnar Sorenson said.
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