A couple of fast starts led to a happy finish for Steamboat Springs’ boys soccer team.
Kicking off each half with quick scores, the Sailors held on for a 3-2 win at Glenwood Springs on Tuesday.
“Like the coaches say, we have to come out strong the first five minutes so we can get the lead and then just control the game,” said Steamboat junior forward Enrique Lopez, who scored the game’s first goal just 2 minutes, 20 seconds into the night.
“We definitely take a lot of pride in starting sharp and playing well from the opening whistle,” Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann relayed. “You know, obviously, it’s as good as it gets the way we started each half.”
Lopez’s game-opening strike resulted from a well-executed give-and-go play.
Roughly 40 yards from the goal, Lopez dumped a short pass to Conor Garrecht-Connelly and kept running.
Garrecht-Connelly immediately tapped a forward pass back to Lopez, who received it in stride and, ahead of the defense, broke away for an easy score.
Glenwood converted the equalizer in the 19th minute.
With a pair of Steamboat defenders draped on him, Travis Grange somehow got off a shot that rolled past goalkeeper Joey Haight. Casey Montoya got the assist.
“Travis is normally a defender,” said Demons coach John Mount, who mixed up his lineup a little against the Sailors. “He’s kind of a newcomer to the striker positions. He’s good to have up there because he’s got incredible speed. He’s been a surprise for us this year.”
The score held at 1-all through halftime.
Once the whistle blew to start the second half, the Sailors came to life.
Five seconds into the 43rd minute, Christopher Holmquist recorded a goal with a little help from Lopez, who made a run up the middle of the field before sending a pass to Holmquist in the right flat.
The latter squeezed a shot through what little space existed between Glenwood keeper Cane Albrecht and the near post, ricocheting his shot off the Albrecht and into the net.
It took until only the 45th minute for the Sailors to tack on an insurance goal. This time, Brandon Marr scored on an assist from Lopez.
And Steamboat would need the extra cushion.
Glenwood tightened the gap in the 53rd minute, when Nate Kaup got his body on a corner kick by teammate Hunter Brown for a goal that made it 3-2.
“These guys responded,” Mount said. “That’s the good thing about this team, their response to being down.”
Despite a number of second-half corner kicks, Mount’s Demons never quite finished off the comeback.
Falling behind has been a problem for Glenwood, now 3-4-1 overall and 0-2-1 in the Class 4A Western Slope League.
“The majority of the teams we play seem to score first,” Mount lamented. “Every single game, with the exception of Rifle, the other team scored first against us. That’s one thing we’re looking at and focusing on.”
Tuesday marked the second time the Demons and Sailors squared off this fall.
Steamboat defeated Glenwood, 2-0, in Steamboat on Sept. 9.
The Sailors, who improved to 4-2-1 overall and to 2-2-1 in the 4A WSL, host Centaurus on Saturday.
The Demons host Battle Mountain on Thursday.