In her final regular season game, in double overtime against rival Glenwood Springs, senior Tracy Lucas elected to pass the soccer ball -- to a freshman.
Kelly Labor's goal four minutes into the second overtime gave the Steamboat Springs soccer team a 4-3 victory Tuesday.
"It was a great ball," Labor said. "She could have taken the shot."
"Kelly was more open," Lucas said with a smile. "But I was tempted to poke it in."
Instead, Lucas, Labor and Demons goalie Keegan Nadon watched the ball roll into the net after Labor delivered the shot a split second before Nadon swallowed it in her arms.
The victory capped off the Sailors' perfect league season.
But Glenwood didn't leave the field totally deflated. The Demons rallied from three goals down in the second half, scoring twice in the final 10 minutes to send the game into overtime.
Nadon stopped sure-footed Nikki Garth's penalty kick with less than two minutes remaining in regulation after being whistled for a foul in the box.
"I told them at the half it was absolutely possible to come back," Glenwood coach Steve White said. "If we get in the same situation again, now we know we can come back. It gives us momentum and confidence heading into the postseason."
White said his team's decisions were poor in the first half.
Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann believed the same about his team in the second.
"Two words: Jekyll and Hyde," Bohlmann said of the halves.
Labor, Garth and Anya Allen all scored in the first half for the Sailors. Garth's and Allen's shots came on well-executed offensive plays. Labor's first goal, a high spinner, would have been tough to stop.
Glenwood, however, came out more determined in the second half -- if nothing else, to at least play better soccer with the postseason set to begin later this week.
Heidi Wild put the Demons on the board with her successful penalty try nearly five minutes into the half.
Brittney Rippy added the second goal off a rebound. Cassie Carlson scored the third on a shot that sailed above the reach of Steamboat goalie Kirsten Ryan.
"A game is never out of reach with Cassie there to take free kicks," White said.
The goal sent a surge of energy into both teams, creating a playoff atmosphere as players scrambled trying to create shots.
Steamboat had the best opportunity in the closing minutes, but Garth's penalty kick hit Nadon straight on, prompting the junior keeper to let out a nervous and excited laugh.
After one scoreless overtime, Steamboat capitalized on its offensive opportunities when Lucas and Labor connected for the winning goal.
"Their organization up front is really exceptional," White said. "Steamboat is a great team."
The Sailors won the Western Slope title, while the Demons, last year's champions, finished third. Rifle came in second. Battle Mountain finished fourth followed by Palisade, Moffat County and Cedaredge.
Steamboat is guaranteed to host its opening round playoff game. The exact date and time likely will be announced today, Bohlmann said.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com