Steamboat’s Sydney Bauknecht flies by a Palisade defender Friday as she heads for the goal. Bauknecht finished the game with a hat trick, taking care of all the scoring in Steamboat’s 3-0 victory.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat’s Sydney Bauknecht flies by a Palisade defender Friday as she heads for the goal. Bauknecht finished the game with a hat trick, taking care of all the scoring in Steamboat’s 3-0 victory.

Steamboat soccer shuts out Palisade

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— When it comes down to points and wins, the game may not actually have mattered.

That came as a surprise to the Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team, which, under the spell of coach Rob Bohlmann, entered Friday’s regular-season final against Palisade convinced it needed a win to play in the postseason.

Turns out, Steamboat was likely in the 32-team field to be announced Sunday no matter what, but playing at home, one trick begat another and, convinced they were fighting for their season’s life, the Sailors rode a Sydney Bauknecht hat trick to a decisive 3-0 win.

Mean? Maybe, but it was clear afterward a lesson had been learned.

“We’ve had an inconsistent season, but this game shows our potential,” Bauknecht said. “This game shows what we can do when we all have the right mindset.”

Bauknecht gave Steamboat the lead midway through the first half, then locked the game up with a strike 23 minutes into the second. A missile she launched with about a minute remaining in the first half broke Palisade’s back, however.

She rocketed the ball in from 35 yards, securing a 2-0 lead and, considering the night’s rock solid defensive performance behind her, won the game.

“Everyone was moving off the ball, and that was creating opportunities,” Bauknecht said. “Because we were moving it so well, there was so much space to play into.”

It was that defense as much as it was Bauknecht’s scoring or Bohlmann’s bluffing that let the Sailors coast to the victory.

Senior Katie Hostetler controlled the effort, sweeping Steamboat’s end of the field of any threats throughout the game. She and her teammates won the races to loose balls. They chased down breakaways, controlled possession and slowly suffocated the Bulldogs.

“Tactically, Katie reads the game so well. She know when to drop, when is the right time to step up with pressure,” Bohlmann said. “She, along with the rest of the players in the back, did very well managing the game defensively, especially in the second half.”

Palisade had its opportunities limited throughout the game, and when it finally did get a couple good cracks in the final 10 minutes, Hurricane Sydney already had laid waste to its chances.

Now, the Sailors (10-4-1, 7-4) will wait for the playoff bracket announcements, due out Sunday. They don’t know who they’ll play and, besides knowing they won’t be at home, don’t know where.

They will play, though. Whether they needed to or not, they made darn sure of that Friday.

“That was a fantastic way to finish the season,” Bohlmann said. “That was a game we had been searching for for a while.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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