Steamboat Springs High School senior Megan Stabile fights for control of the ball during Saturday's game against Palisade. Steamboat lost, 1-0.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School senior Megan Stabile fights for control of the ball during Saturday's game against Palisade. Steamboat lost, 1-0.

Steamboat Springs girls soccer team falls to Palisade

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— Palisade coach Raina Sorensen doesn’t want to let out the secret.

But as the season begins in earnest with Western Slope League play, it’s hard to argue that the Bulldogs aren’t the team to beat.

Palisade, fresh off beating two-time defending league champion Glenwood Springs, downed Steamboat, 1-0, on Saturday at Gardner Field.

“If we’re the team to beat, let’s not tell anybody,” Sorensen said. “Let’s keep it under wraps.”

It’s out there now, though.

Palisade (4-0 overall, 2-0 in league) kept its shape throughout the game and leaned on its defense to get the win.

Steamboat dominated possession for most of the game but never could capitalize, thanks in part to the play of Bulldogs goalkeeper Katie Dunn.

Dunn made a few sprawling saves to keep Palisade in the game.

“The fact we couldn’t finish and they got one was a bummer,” said Steamboat senior Megan Stabile, who was a pest all game creating opportunities. “She was a good goalie though. I just couldn’t get my foot on it right.”

After a scoreless first half, Palisade finally took advantage of a Steamboat mistake. In the 56th minute Cruz Maestas broke the scoreless tie. A miscommunication between Sailors defenders Suzanne Lyon, Ali Pougiales and goalkeeper Madison Ruppel led Maestas to find the ball at her feet just inside the box. She bent one to the far corner for a 1-0 lead.

“At halftime, we talked about pressuring their defense, and they’ll make a mistake,” Sorensen said. “Cruz has had an amazing season so far and has taken advantage of those mistakes.”

Steamboat, though, had a flurry of chances.

The best opportunity in the first half came in the 28th minute when Stabile got in one on one and looked to the far corner, but Dunn made a great save with her left leg.

In the 54th minute, Alice Holmquist and Stabile had a two on one, but Palisade defender Sarah Talbott — who was the best player on the field Saturday — played it well and squashed the chance. Five minutes later, Stabile again won a ball and had a shot deflected just wide by Dunn.

Steamboat (1-1, 1-1) had a pair of opportunities for an equalizer late. The first came in the 71st on a corner kick. Holmquist served a ball that ping-ponged around before Talbott finally got a clearing leg on the ball.

Then in the 74th, Holmquist uncorked a shot with her left foot that fooled Dunn but ricocheted off the cross bar.

“It’s the nature of the game sometimes,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “The team that creates the most opportunities doesn’t always win the game.”

Steamboat next plays at 3 p.m. Tuesday at home against Grand Junction.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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