Steamboat Springs Things weren't working for the Steamboat Springs soccer team.
Down two goals within the first 25 minutes of their game against the Palisade Bulldogs on Sept. 21, the Sailors could have allowed frustration and doubt to take over, particularly because they suffered a tough 7-6 loss to Glenwood Springs just two days earlier.
Steamboat instead rallied, winning 3-2 on junior Dustin Atkinson's goal in the second overtime.
"They really showed character, and they slowly changed the tide," coach Rob Bohlmann said. "We got more possessions and were able to get numbers forward and in the attack. We were able to come back and tie it up, and then to get the winning goal in the second overtime was a huge accomplishment."
Atkinson's goal came off junior Daniel Barney's pass to Kyle Nelson, who beat his defender to the net and took a shot on goal that was punched away by the Bulldogs' goalie.
Atkinson was there to drive Nelson's blocked shot into the net.
The win over Palisade moved Steamboat to 5-4 overall this season and 3-1 in league play, setting up an intriguing game between Steamboat and Battle Mountain Thursday.
The Huskies are 6-3 and 3-1 in league play as well.
Bohlmann said one didn't have to look any further than his team's narrow defeat of Palisade the bottom team in the Western Slope to see the parity in the league. Thursday is Steamboat's chance to create some breathing room.
"Every league game is important but Thursday can really help us make a push," Bohlmann said.
Glenwood sits atop the standings with a 4-1 league record and an overall mark of 6-2.
The Sailors have already defeated Battle Mountain this year, 3-1, in the Alexander Dawson Tournament Aug. 31, but it was not a league game and is not on Bohlmann's mind.
"It was still preseason," Bohlmann said. "Everyone's still trying to measure themselves. We are looking with no reflection whatsoever on that early season win."
Steamboat's game against Battle Mountain is at 6 p.m. Thursday at the high school.
The dimensions of the football field and Dudley Field are nearly the same, allowing the Sailors to maintain their spread across the field, which suits their style.
The playing surface, however, is crowned and more beat up compared to Dudley's flat, soccer-only grass. The high school does have one advantage, though.
"The players get really excited about playing under the lights," Bohlmann said.
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