Glenwood Springs The Steamboat and Glenwood soccer teams went through a lot to play Monday night's game, first rescheduling it, then having it delayed for rain and then finally fighting through a 80-minute mudfest.
But Daniel Wright made it all worth it for the Sailors.
After more than 66 minutes of scoreless play in pouring rain, Steamboat earned the win on a Nick Labor cross from the sideline that was redirected into the goal off the head of Wright.
"It was a game that could have gone either way," Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. "It was a scrappy, hard-fought game, and it just happened to go our way tonight. It sometimes can come down to the luck of the draw. You play a game like this in the mudd tomorrow night and they win."
With the 1-1 win, the Sailors (9-5-1, 8-3-1 in league play) locked up the No. 2 spot in the Western Slope League. Glenwood (8-4-1, 7-3-1) will still be heading to the playoffs because the league, with the additions of Montrose and Montezuma-Cortez, will send five teams to the state playoffs.
"I am really excited for our group of boys," Bohlmann said. "We've had a group of players on varsity that have been in the bottom of the barrel, and we knew coming into this game, it had implications that if we were to win that we'd clinch second, and it's a great result for them."
Before the game started, thunder cracked behind the National Anthem. Hail and furious rain beat down as the starting line-ups were read. The rain was coming down so hard, the players had to rush off the field before the nine senior Demons could be recognized in their last home game.
Lightning ignited the sky, causing the game to once again be pushed back. Almost an hour and buckets of rain later, the game was finally started on a muddy field that looked more and more like a Slip 'N Slide as each minute ticked away.
"It's the worst," Glenwood's Pat Waller said of the conditions. "I played in Ireland in third grade, and this is way worse than anything I've played in."
Despite being down 1-0 with less than 14 minutes left, Glenwood never let down. Five minutes after Wright's goal, Waller almost tied it up. Firing in a rocket on a direct kick, the ball bounced off a Sailor and smacked the crossbar.
"A guy deflected it off his head, but I still thought it was going in," Waller said.
Demon Ryan Zerfoss had a chance with five minutes left, when he found himself with a one-on-one with Sailor goalkeeper Bjorn Lickteig. Zerfoss didn't get a square kick on the slippery ball, sending a roller into Lickteig's hands. Demon goalkeeper kept Glenwood in the game totaling seven saves, two of which came on diving attempts in the second half. Lickteig made eight saves in the game.
When the final whistle blew, Steamboat celebrated, and a mud stain remained on the Sailors' crossbar, the leftovers from Waller's almost-goal as Glenwood walked off the field with another loss.
"They played well for the circumstances," Glenwood coach Craig Plizga said. "It makes me mad we even had the game, in all honesty, with circumstances this bad."