Steamboat Springs In the dance known as the Western Slope girls soccer league, a new team has emerged.
Conversations always have centered on Steamboat Springs and Battle Mountain, but on Saturday, the Palisade team proved it’s just as capable — and now in a better spot — to win a league title.
Palisade, despite getting outshot 13-4 in the game, got a goal in the 55th minute to outlast Steamboat, 1-0.
The win improves the Bulldogs to 6-1-1 overall and 5-1 in league. Palisade and Glenwood Springs now lead the league with just one loss. Steamboat (4-3, 3-2) and Battle Mountain are now a game back.
“We’ve stepped it up each of the last four years, and we’re finally where we want to be,” Palisade coach Raina Sorensen said. “We were put where we ended last season, and we’ve grown a lot since last season. I think we’re finally getting the respect we deserve.”
After a scoreless first half where Steamboat essentially had the run of play, Palisade sophomore Flannery Davis won a ball in the Sailors zone and rifled a shot in for a 1-0 lead.
Steamboat, as it did for much of the day, got possession back and had multiple chances for the equalizer.
In the 66th, Steamboat senior Mia Quick’s shot was deflected wide. Then in the 69th, senior Emi Birch had a prime opportunity.
Birch had scored the past two days on direct kicks and looked Saturday as though she would add a third.
She had a kick just outside the right box that hit the crossbar. After a skirmish inside the Palisade box, the Bulldogs were able to clear the ball.
Playing its third game in three days, Steamboat didn’t look lethargic at all. The Sailors, for the most part, had the run of play but were never able to convert any of their many opportunities.
“If we want to be brutally honest, we didn’t seize the moment in the first half,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “We had the run of the game and played really well. We just didn’t find the back of the goal.”
Despite the loss, Bohlmann remained confident as the season progresses. He said the Sailors are playing well, they’re just not getting the results. Bohlmann said the past three games have been 240 minutes of some of the best soccer the team has played. Bohlmann said, however, that the team has to look at winning as many games as it can with the way the race for playoff spots in the league is shaking out.
“At this point,” he said, “we’ve got to get points from every one of them.”
Steamboat resumes play at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Eagle Valley.