Steamboat girls soccer powers past Glenwood Springs, 3-0

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— Steamboat Springs High School’s girls soccer team continued its run of success against Glenwood Springs, using a strong opening half to power past the Demons, 3-0, in the 4A Western Slope League crossover game.

A trio of sophomores netted goals for the visitors before Steamboat sat back and defended for the majority of the second half to secure its spot in the league championship game, scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday against Battle Mountain at Gates Soccer Park on the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley Campus. The Huskies beat Palisade on Monday, 2-1.

Meanwhile, the Demons (8-6-0) will play Palisade in Thursday’s third-place game, scheduled for 5 p.m. at Gates Soccer Park. The result could make or break the season for either team, as the Demons know — Glenwood was left out of the 4A state playoffs after a 3-2 loss to Steamboat in last year’s third-place game.

On Tuesday, Glenwood showed sparks of creativity throughout the contest, but the Demons never could find the necessary touch to break through the Steamboat defense.

Steamboat emerged the stronger of the two sides from the opening whistle. A persistent attack kept Glenwood hemmed into its own end until the first goal came 8 minutes in. Logan Sankey fired home the opener, and it appeared the Sailors may have been on their way to a repeat of their 4-0 win against Glenwood from two weeks earlier. Twelve minutes later, however, the lead seemed as though it may be short-lived.

In a moment that both head coaches agreed was the turning point in the match, Glenwood came inches away from knotting the game. With a Demon open to fire on goal, Steamboat goalkeeper Ocoee Wilson denied the opportunity, making a save that preserved the early lead.

“If they get that goal, it’s definitely a different game,” said Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann, underlining his sophomore keeper’s role in the victory. “It’s a sign of a good keeper when they can make those saves in those moments.”

The save’s importance was magnified, given the subsequent swing in momentum back to the Sailors. Minutes later, pressure in the Glenwood penalty box resulted in a Glenwood foul, awarding a penalty kick to Steamboat. In the 28th minute, Jordan Floyd coolly knocked home the spot kick, and the Sailors doubled their lead.

Now firing on all cylinders, the Steamboat attack pushed for a third. Despite stout goalkeeping from Glenwood junior Bella Diaz, she couldn’t keep the Sailors out of the net for the third time in the half. A first-half stoppage time run by Mackenzie Gansman ended with a smooth finish into the bottom corner. Now up, 3-0, Steamboat headed to the intermission feeling confident it had booked its spot in the finals.

Playing in their final game at Stubler Memorial Field, Glenwood’s seniors took charge midway through the second half. Chances for Demons senior Jenna Brown came in the in the 55th and 75th minutes, but both times, shots flew inches wide of the goal. The final whistle ended Glenwood’s flurry and preserved the Sailors’ clean sheet.

After his team’s fifth victory in the past six outings, Bohlmann assessed the Sailors’ growth.

“We feel like we’re really coming into our own at this point in the season, and we look forward to coming out (in the championship game) and seeing how we can do,” he said.

Meanwhile, Glenwood coach Steve White thought his team battled throughout but just couldn’t get past the Sailors' stingy defense.

“We had our successes, and we had our shortcomings," White said, "but I know that we’ll keep working.”

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