Steamboat Springs The Glenwood Springs Demons threatened in the first half, but the Steamboat Springs Sailors' speed prevailed in the second.
The Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team raced to a 4-1 victory Thursday night at Gardner field behind goals from Sisi Atkinson, Emily Birch and Abbey Lewis. The victory improved the team's record to 7-1 this season, and provided some much needed momentum for Saturday's contest against Battle Mountain.
"The first half, I was very happy with my girls. Coming out even is what we wanted," Glenwood coach Linda Flohr said after the game. "They had a very fast right side, and they were able to bring the ball across and a couple of times we lost our mark. They are a very good team and it's always a good battle."
Both teams had chances to take control of the game in the first 40 minutes, including a hard drive by Glenwood's Chelsea Vallario with less than a minute remaining, but could not do it. A terrific save by Steamboat goalkeeper Hanna Berglund kept the game scoreless at the half.
But five minutes into the second half, Steamboat's Lauren Letson made a hard run down the right side to set up the biggest goal of the game. She pulled up just off the corner of the net, and hit Atkinson with the perfect crossing pass.
"It was a great confidence boost," Atkinson said after the game. "We had been doing everything right in the first half, but just couldn't get the ball in the net."
Letson, who finished the game with three assists, said the Sailors had been working on switching the ball up and crossing it in practice. When the opportunity presented itself early in the second half, she took the chance.
"Switching it up and being unpredictable was one of our goals for this game," Letson said. "When I bring it down the side of the field, it pulls the goalie's attention towards the outside, and then I cross it back in. I knew that Sisi was going to be there - she always is."
The combination worked so well, the two Steamboat players used it again to make the score, 2-0, with 27 minutes left in the game. But it only took Glenwood a few minutes to respond. Vallario got her team back into the game at 2-1 with a penalty kick.
Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said he was impressed with the way his team responded after the Glenwood Springs goal.
"We had the run of play when we were up, 2-0, and we were doing decent. But the game changes quickly," Bohlmann said. "Glenwood got a surge of adrenalin after that goal, but we were able to stay composed and get back to our rhythm."
Birch teamed up with Letson to add an insurance goal with 8 minutes remaining and then Abbey Lewis closed out the game in the stretch.
The Sailors will not have a lot of time to celebrate. They will be back on the field tomorrow to prepare for Saturday's game against Battle Mountain. That game will be played at 3:30 p.m. at the high school.
In other action, the Steamboat Springs junior varsity team also collected a 4-0 win against Glenwood Springs Thursday. Meghan Hartley, McKenzie Worden, Kiersten Henry and Lexie Ruppel all scored goals in the game.
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