Steamboat Springs They thought they’d done enough, but on Sunday, the Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team had to accept the cold fact that the Colorado High School Activities Association did not agree.
The Sailors were left out of the 32-team Class 4A playoff bracket. It was the first time since 2003 that Steamboat was left out of the championship tournament.
2014 Sailors girls soccer schedule
- March 6: Steamboat 1, Summit 0
- March 8: Battle Mountain 5, Steamboat 0
- March 13: Steamboat 4, Eagle Valley 1
- March 15: Palisade 1, Steamboat 0
- March 21: Eagle Valley 3, Steamboat 2
- March 22: Grand Junction 7, Steamboat 2
- March 29: Battle Mountain 4, Steamboat 0
- April 2: vs. Fruita Monument, canceled
- April 5: Steamboat 6, Delta 0
- April 8: Steamboat 6, Summit 0
- April 12: Wheat Ridge 3, Steamboat 0
- April 15: Steamboat 4, Glenwood Springs 0
- April 17: Steamboat 7, Rifle 0
- April 29: Steamboat 3, Glenwood Springs 0
- May 1: Battle Mountain 3, Steamboat 0
- May 2: Steamboat 2, Fruita 1
“We’re definitely disappointed,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “We felt like we did everything in our control in the later half of the season. We had a group that very much came into its own, played very consistently and played very well and finished on a strong note.”
That strong note consisted of a rousing 2-1 double overtime win Friday against Fruita Monument. It couldn’t have been more dramatic, from sophomore Jordi Floyd acrobatically kicking in a rebound for the winning goal to her teammates rushing the field, celebrating what they hoped was a win that would push them off the playoff bubble.
Instead, the exciting win will have to go down as just that: an exciting win.
“That was a game that really resonated the true character of this group,” Bohlmann said. “They found a way to get the job done through a lot of adversity. It was an awesome way to wrap up the season.”
Looking back, Steamboat’s fatal flaw was not starting the season with that same cohesiveness. After a 4-0 loss at Battle Mountain on March 29, Steamboat was just 3-4. The most costly loss in that stretch was to Palisade, 1-0 on March 15, which Sunday was one of two Western Slope teams included in the 4A bracket.
“That game was probably the difference for us,” Bohlmann said.
Mountain-area teams often have complained in recent years of being underrepresented in playoffs seedings. This year, the Western Slope League got in only its two automatic qualifiers, Battle Mountain, which defeated Steamboat three times this season and earned the No. 4 seed, and Palisade, which is the No. 18 seed.
The Sailors haven’t been seeded in the tournament’s top half since 2009, when they went in as a No. 11 and were upset by No. 22 Thompson Valley. It’s been rough going since. Steamboat’s averaged at the No. 25 seed in the four ensuing seasons but hasn’t been competitive in any of those four games, losing by a combined score of 19-1.
Steamboat was ranked as the No. 22 team on www.maxpreps.com and, at 9-6, finished with as many or more wins than 15 teams that did make the 4A cut.
Bohlmann, who didn’t cast any blame Sunday, had hoped that would push the selection committee to include the Sailors with an at-large bid.
The hole in the resume came in quality wins. It went 1-5 against teams playing in the postseason, the only win being that season crowning achievement against Fruita, the No. 25 seed in the Class 5A bracket.
“We felt that in the final half of the season we did everything in our control, but we also reflect back on a few of those early season games,” Bohlmann said. “We had some opportunities.”
The Sailors hope to return strong in 2015. They will lose three seniors from this year's team — valuable players, Bohlmann said. For the rest of the team, though, 2014 could go down as a lesson.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9