Soccer team still perfect

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— The Steamboat Springs girls soccer team remained perfect on the season with a 7-0 victory over Palisade Saturday at Woodbury Field in Craig.

Steamboat had just 23 shots on goal Saturday compared to its 50 against Cedaredge on Friday, but the Sailors managed to score the same amount of goals on both days, taking advantage of their offensive opportunities in the victory over the Bulldogs.

It marked the second time in a week that Steamboat shutout Palisade and wrapped up a successful three-games-in-three-days stretch for the Sailors.

"We played better and put more pressure on them this game," Bulldogs coach Sean Kennedy said. "But Steamboat played well. They are a very good team. Oftentimes good teams make their own luck."

The Sailors, however, did not order up the 15-minute snowstorm complete with whipping winds at the beginning of the second half Saturday, though it worked to their advantage.

Rather than let up under the adverse conditions, Steamboat's players covered their ears, wrapped their hands in their shirts and added to their 3-0 first-half lead with three goals in the opening 15 minutes of the second half.

"We stress the quality of soccer and being consistent for 80 minutes," Sailors assistant Danny Tebbenkamp said. "There were a lot of elements we had to deal with (Saturday) -- the weather, missing five players and playing three days in a row. We could see the girls weren't there mentally."

Senior Nikki Garth, the team's captain, helped Steamboat get on the scoreboard first about 10 minutes into Saturday's game. She lined up almost even with the post about 20 yards to the right for a direct kick.

Instead of using her right foot, she opted to kick with her left foot, giving the ball such a curve that Oakland pitcher Barry Zito would have been jealous.

"At that angle, I don't know if they were expecting a shot," Garth said.

Then she smiled and added, "At that angle, I don't know if I should have shot it."

Either way, her goal got Steamboat's offense rolling. Garth scored her second of the game off a successful penalty kick with 10 minutes remaining in the first half. She went right. Palisade's goalie went left.

Steamboat's third goal of the game was actually scored by a Palisade player trying to clear the zone on a Steamboat corner kick.

The Sailors opened the second half with a quick goal from Tracy Lucas. As snow started to accumulate on the field and in the girls' hair, Allison Hall and Jessie Dover scored two more goals for Steamboat.

Kelly Labor's goal in the closing minutes of the game rounded out the Sailors' scoring.

Goalie Kirsten Ryan recorded her fifth shutout in six games for Steamboat and even notched an assist on Hall's second-half score.

Steamboat will attempt to remain undefeated overall and in league play when they face Battle Mountain at 4 p.m. Tuesday at home.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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