Steamboat Springs Just like the U.S. women’s team in the World Cup, Steamboat’s U13 girls soccer team pieced together a fantastic tournament, used great play to make the finals and, with the championship of the Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament on the line in Steamboat Springs, fell just a little short.
The Steamboat team started its weekend 4-0, winning early Sunday to advance to a mid-day final. The squad finally met its match, however, and couldn’t find a way to break through against the U13 Lakers, falling in the finals, 3-0.
That result did little to change the team’s opinion about the weekend, however.
“That team was coming from a real high level, and the more teams like that our growing team here in Steamboat can play, the better we’ll be,” Steamboat coach Erin Dargis said. “This was a phenomenal way to finish the weekend.”
Steamboat won close contests in each of its three pool games, walking away with 2-1, 3-2 and 1-0 wins, and bounced back from a 1-0 deficit in Sunday morning’s semifinal against Rush Adrenaline to win, 3-1.
The weekend’s progress was part of a trend this summer, where the team finished third in one tournament and second in another.
“It was a really fun week,” Steamboat’s Hannah Winegarner said. “Our team got closer as the weekend went on. We improved together.”
That trend at last hit a bump in the road against the Lakers squad, which dominated the U13 bracket. That team gave up just one goal in the tournament and wasted little time showing Steamboat how it accomplished that feat.
It played physical and aggressive and had the skill to dominate. Steamboat scored often during the weekend by winning races to loose balls but was rarely first to such opportunities Sunday afternoon.
The Lakers scored twice in the first half and again midway through the second, all while frustrating Steamboat’s best efforts to get back in the game. They seemed to get a foot on every errant pass and have a player in position to stop every Steamboat surge.
“They had a good setup defense, and their goalie wasn’t afraid to come out quickly,” Steamboat forward Jordi Floyd said. “As soon as we knocked a through ball, their goalie would come up and snatch it up.”
Still, for a Steamboat team finishing up its summer tournament schedule, second place didn’t feel too bad.
“They played five games in three days, and their character is tested. At this age, you ask, ‘Are they going to reach that breaking point or are they going to push through?’” Dargis said. “It was a collective group effort. You could tell, character wise, they were growing, maturing. It was truly a team effort to get to second place.”
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com