Steamboat Springs They chant it before kickoff of every game, preaching passion, tenacity and family.
The 19 Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer players end the chant with a unifying “we are one” cry.
But Thursday night was about three, as in the Sailors’ trio of seniors performing on their senior night stage.
They’ve played together for what feels like forever, senior Alice Holmquist said, fighting to catch her breath after Steamboat’s 7-0 trouncing of Rifle at Gardner Field. But when the final buzzer sounds on the Sailors’ season — whenever that may be — they will branch away.
Sara Stout admittedly hasn’t made up her mind on her near-future plans.
On July 2, Madison Ruppel will report to the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., for school and service.
Holmquist is headed to nearby Colorado State University, where she’ll study biomedical science.
They’ll get some club competition out of the way before they officially depart for the next chapter in their lives, Holmquist said after Thursday’s big win. But seven years of competitive soccer as teammates will always keep them together.
“Tonight was incredible,” Holmquist said, following her two-goal performance in Steamboat’s biggest win of the season. “I feel like everyone was so motivated and excited. We were all just playing for each other every single second.”
Three minutes in to the game, Holmquist found the back of the net past Bears goalie Kailee Cordova. Three minutes later, sophomore Logan Sankey pushed the Sailors’ lead to 2-0.
Before halftime, Steamboat took a commanding 6-0 lead off the feet of Eliza Leeson, Jordi Floyd, Colleen Garrecht-Connelly and Holmquist — again.
Freshman Maggie Henry poured in Steamboat’s final goal of the evening in the 73rd minute, giving coach Rob Bohlmann a taste of the future that was forged by his small but instrumental senior group.
“They could not be a higher quality set of seniors, as far as character, work rate, leadership,” Bohlmann said. “It’s amazing what these young ladies have done with our program, and the standard they’ve set for future players to aspire to.”
The win marked Steamboat’s seventh of the season, putting it in a tight playoff race with just a makeup game against Fruita Monument remaining on the regular-season schedule.
In a word, consistency has marked the Sailors’ season, Bohlmann said. A sluggish start to 2014 has forced the team to play catch up in the back half of the year.
And Steamboat has responded, with four wins during the past five games, including a 4-0 shutout against Glenwood Springs on Tuesday, the biggest win of the year, Holmquist said.
“If we keep going from there, I think we’re capable of competing with any team,” the senior said.
But playoff concerns — or even the kickoff of spring break this weekend — couldn’t keep the seniors from enjoying one of their last moments together in Sailor white on Gardner Field.
With Bohlmann flanked by Stout on his right and Ruppel on his left, the coach delivered some post-game congratulatory remarks. He feels good about where his team has put itself this late in the season, and is just as firm in where his group of one freshman, six sophomores and nine juniors has been led by the three soon-to-be Steamboat Springs High School alumni.
“You have to take advantage of them and their experiences and leadrship they have to offer,” Bohlmann said. “It develops the future.”
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll