Steamboat Springs Faced with the possibility of not making the state playoffs, the Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team took care of business Friday night at Centaurus.
The team needed a win to assure a spot in the playoffs. A tie left it up in the air. But thanks to three second-half goals by senior Emi Birch, the Sailors walked away with a 3-0 win and a no-doubt berth.
Playoff seeding will be determined Sunday.
“We got it done,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “We’re really excited that it wrapped up this way. I’m psyched for the girls. They certainly worked for this opportunity. There was definitely a bit of pressure coming into this, and they handled it well. It was our day today.”
For the first 40 minutes Steamboat had the run of play, but its old nemesis of trying to find the back of the net kept coming back.
Finally, in the 58th minute, Birch answered with a one-timer from Sydney Bauknecht at the top of the box.
In the 64th, she took a 1-2 combo from Courtney Garth to make it 2-0. Then in the 69th, Kiersten Henry fed Birch at the top of the box for a 3-0 lead.
“Consistently through the 80 minutes it was good soccer,” Bohlmann said. “We felt really good about how things were going. The key thing in the game was we felt like we were having success. We never relinquished pressure.”
Bohlmann said he didn’t have to tell his team much before the game, instead leaving it to the senior captain Garth.
“Nothing magic had to be said,” Bohlmann said. “It was just getting the group in the right place. Courtney had full slate of preparing the team. They all collectively got themselves in the right spot.”
Garth also potentially had the game-changing play in the first half. Centaurus sent a corner kick into the Steamboat box. The ball reached the goal line before Garth cleared it to keep the score knotted at zero.
Now, Steamboat waits for the seeding committee to dole out spots Sunday. Bohlmann anticipates being seeded anywhere from 22nd to 28th.
Regardless, he said he likes the way his team is playing right now, especially considering how close the top four teams in the Western Slope League are.
Glenwood Springs, Battle Mountain and Palisade will be the other playoff teams, along with Steamboat and either Montrose or Cortez.
“I hope that our league can show well,” Bohlmann said in regards to seeding. “The top four teams on any given day are very competitive with each other.”