Steamboat Springs Coaches say that at this early point of the girls soccer season, it’s more about the effort than the polish.
So while Steamboat Springs High School beat Glenwood Springs, 2-1, on Saturday in a game best described as disjointed, each coach walked away from Gardner Field feeling a little better about his team.
For Glenwood Springs and coach Bryan Stoltzfus, Saturday marked just the second time the Demons had played outside. The team also was missing several starters who had previous engagements.
Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann had to have liked the effort — and more specifically the play — from his squad in the first 25 minutes of the game.
“It’s so hard,” Stoltzfus said about not getting to play outside because of the long Colorado winter. “The fitness level is different. The touch on the ball is different. The spacing is different. That’s what we struggled with a lot. At times, we were bunching. We weren’t supporting at times. We played hard, and that was a good game in my mind. I’m sure it was in Rob’s, as well.”
Steamboat looked like the better team from the outset. In the first 25 minutes of the game, Steamboat got run after run.
Finally, in the 17th minute, senior Kiersten Henry took a pass from Emi Birch on the right side of the box and snuck a shot inside the right post past Glenwood keeper Dani Turley.
“From minute five to minute 25 wasn’t bad,” Bohlmann said. “That’s when we had our best stuff. Part of it might have been untimely decision-making from the coach. We’re looking at a couple different shapes and tweaked things. That was right at the moment where we were right at the cusp of really getting it together. Then the coach screws it up. We never quite recovered from that.”
Steamboat’s change in formations combined with the Glenwood players finally getting a feel for the game resulted in a change of momentum. Glenwood had a chance to tie it in the 36th minute when Hope Whitman’s point-blank shot deflected off Steamboat goalkeeper Molly Moore’s hands.
The Demons scored in the 54th minute when Michaela Mansfield got between two defenders and battled Moore for the ball. Mansfield won and tied the score at 1.
“I was proud of them for what we accomplished,” Stoltzfus said. “We scored and kept them to two goals. But we’re better than what happened today.”
Henry scored the game-winner in the 60th minute on a play that was very similar to her first goal. This time, Birch got Henry the ball on the left side of the box. Henry turned and fired a shot into the back right corner for a 2-1 lead.
“I just looked up and shot as soon as I could,” Henry said. “I didn’t think too hard about it. That’s what I try to do is not think too hard. When I do, I’ll overshoot it.”
Glenwood had a chance for the equalizer in the 70th minute, but Holly Brown couldn’t get a solid touch on a crossing pass.
The two teams resume play Tuesday. Glenwood travels to Rifle, and Steamboat heads to Battle Mountain — an early season game with big implications in the Western Slope League.
“We go right into it and it counts,” Bohlmann said about the win. Saturday “was good in that our opening game was against a quality opponent. The implications now are how you adjust and move forward from here. Now it’s for league points.”