Sailors soccer one win away from playoffs

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— After a three-game losing streak, the Steamboat Springs soccer team bounced back this week, winning three consecutive league games, capped by its 5-1 win Saturday in Rifle.

Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann was most excited for the group of seniors who have played on the varsity squad for the past couple seasons only to see those seasons end with losing records.

"They have a lot to play for in their final game," Bohlmann said, referring to Steamboat's Monday game at Glenwood Springs.

Now, 8-5-1 overall and 7-3-1 in league play, the Sailors can clinch a postseason berth with a win Monday in their last regular season game.

Coming off a dominant 4-0 win aginst Palisade on Friday night, the Sailors headed to Rifle (2-10-1 overall, 2-7-1 in league) on Saturday with good momentum.

Rifle coach Tom Taucher said the first half was a battle, with his team creating a few offensive chances. But Rifle was unable to finish, and Taucher credited that to superb saves by Steamboat goalkeeper Bjorn Lickteig.

Capitalizing on a Bear's defensive miscue, David Comeau knocked in a loose ball to give Steamboat the lead heading into the half.

Bohlmann said he made some adjustments in the second half, dropping his defense back to respond to the Bears' straightforward attack.

"The boys were able to find their rhythm, get some possessions, shut down the things (Rifle) got going and convert them into opportunities," Bohlmann said.

Comeau scored the Sailors' second and third goals of the game, and finished with a hat trick. Max Hamil scored the team's fourth goal, and Nick Labor added a fifth to put Steamboat up, 5-0.

"They exploded and finished their chances," Taucher said. "Our guys got on their heels, and (Steamboat) started to connect. You give them time, space and confidence, and they'll put it together."

In the final two minutes of play, Rifle's James Mitchell snuck a shot past Lickteig to put the Bears on the board.

Heading into Monday's game, Bohlmann was proud to see his team peaking at the right time.

They boys are putting together a "solid, collaborative group effort," he said.

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