Steamboat senior Carter Kounovsky battles for position with Palisade's Daniel Kachin on Saturday afternoon in the first half of the Sailors' 6-0 win.

Photo by Ben Ingersoll

Steamboat senior Carter Kounovsky battles for position with Palisade's Daniel Kachin on Saturday afternoon in the first half of the Sailors' 6-0 win.

Sailors soccer beats Palisade in dominating fashion

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— With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, Steamboat Springs High School soccer’s schedule has become a three-game checklist.

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Charlie Beurskens tries to elude Palisade's Daniel Kachin in the first half of Steamboat's 6-0 win against Palisade on Saturday afternoon.

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Steamboat keeper Jake Andersen, who had eight tremendous saves, tries to keep Palisade's Marques Combs from scoring in the first half of the Sailors' 6-0 win Saturday afternoon.

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Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann explains second-half strategy during halftime of Saturday's 6-0 win against Palisade.

On a brisk, sunny Saturday afternoon, the Sailors easily checked Palisade off that list, winning in dominating fashion, 6-0.

Now, coach Rob Bohlmann’s squad stares down its final two games as must-win scenarios if the Sailors are to even sniff a chance at a playoff bid.

Without looking too far ahead, the Sailors rebounded from Thursday’s heartbreaking loss to Battle Mountain with big help from Carter Kounovsky, Nathan DePuy and Hector Lopez.

Kounovsky, a senior, opened the scoring in the 18th minute, followed by homecoming king Jasper Good’s goal four minutes later. Kounovsky found Lopez in the 30th minute to give Steamboat a 3-0 lead heading into halftime.

Sailors keeper Jake Andersen again made a few highlight-reel saves that had both teams' benches applauding his effort. Andersen tallied a game-high eight saves.

Bohlmann praised his team’s ability to adjust to some problems Palisade presented in the first match of the season and get out to an early, insurmountable lead.

“That was the focus pregame” Saturday, Bohlmann said. “We were caught offside a couple times, but for the most part, we were able to get that early delivery in.”

And it took just 12 minutes into the second half for the Sailors to double their lead against the Bulldogs. A pair of Nathan DePuy goals just a minute apart gave Steamboat a 5-0 advantage, and Kounovsky punched in his second goal in the 52nd minute off a Lopez assist, which wrapped up the afternoon's scoring.

The rebound victory tasted sweet for the Sailors, especially the group of seniors who possibly have just two weeks of soccer left together.

“It feels really good, actually,” Kounovsky said. “It keeps us moving forward. It’s going to help us. We’re just trying to win out to keep the playoff hopes alive.”

There are myriad ways Steamboat can punch its ticket to the playoffs, but none is possible unless the Sailors beat Glenwood Springs next weekend and follow with a season-closing victory against Summit on Oct. 17. Bohlmann said the likeliest way the Sailors can advance is if they clinch one of the eight at-large slots up for grabs.

There are four automatic bids, but a few teams in the Western Slope League already look like they have secured those slots.

Kounovsky said the seniors simply will play for one another down the stretch, and Bohlmann stressed a one-game-at-a-time mentality.

“Really for us, it’s a playoff mentality,” Bohlmann said. “With two games remaining, to live for an opportunity in playoffs, we must win the next two. It’s all about squeezing out every moment of training and becoming as sharp as we can.”

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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