Sailors advance |

Sailors advance

Soccer team moves on after close win against Cougars

Melinda Mawdsley

— Although it looks good in the box score, winning regular season games by seven goals did little to prepare the Steamboat Springs girls soccer team for close playoff contests.

On Wednesday, the Sailors’ defense and goalkeeper Kir–sten Ryan responded to a challenging game, lifting Steamboat to a 2-1 victory against Evergreen in the first round of the playoffs.

Steamboat will face Sil–ver Creek on Saturday in Longmont. A game time has not been decided.

“We never stopped,” Ever–green coach Paul Moline said. “It was a great game. I don’t think they were expecting much from the fifth seed out of the Jeffco League.”

With Evergreen’s talent, particularly at midfield and in the defensive back, the Cougars likely would have finished high in the Western Slope League standings.

Evergreen passed and controlled the ball with skill comparable to Steamboat, which won the Western Slope League.

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The difference between the Sailors and Cougars came down to two Kelly Labor goals and the biggest save Ryan has made this season.

“I love it,” Ryan said about being challenged in the net. “It’s what I look forward to.”

Steamboat’s senior keeper often stands between the box and midfield during games, involving herself by clearing the ball out of the defensive zone.

On Wednesday, with less than 15 minutes remaining, Evergreen’s Ashley Sutherland came barreling toward Ryan one-on-one.

“I saw the corner,” Ryan said. “I saw her take the shot. I literally do not think. I don’t remember what happened.”

Ryan dove to her right, catching the ball as Sutherland tried to work the angle.

“That’s a game-winning save,” Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said.

Steamboat scored its goals in the first half. Labor’s first score came eight minutes into the game after senior Jessy Dover delivered a cross-field pass to Lauren Letson.

Letson carried the ball about 15 feet before centering it to Labor, who got enough space to drill a shot past Evergreen keeper Kimmy Baroch.

Labor scored again off an assist from freshman Mandi DeVos, who was subbed onto the field shortly before the goal. That score came in the final minute of the first half.

“Miranda (Schrock) and Kathleen (Lyon) stopped the ball, keeping it in,” Labor said. “Mandi kind of shot it and kind of passed it, and I kicked it in.”

The Cougars got their lone goal off the leg of Hannah Moir 25 minutes into the second half. Rheya Price delivered a perfect corner kick into the box. The Sailors got their feet on the ball but could not clear it. Moir knocked in the loose ball.

“We didn’t play that great,” Bohlmann said. “We didn’t have that composure or confidence with the ball. We were a little timid or cautious. We weren’t willing to get numbers forward in the attack, so we were attacking down a person.”

The Sailors will work on increasing the speed with which they strike, pass and think during the next two days.

Silver Creek defeated Western Slope League member Rifle, 7-0, on Tuesday in Longmont.

Goals will be at a premium Saturday, and Steamboat’s defense and goalkeeping will have to be sharp.

“It is a little bit of a disadvantage we didn’t get to play to our potential this season,” Dover said. “Defense is not a huge part of the actual season. We’re huge now. We are playing teams just as good, if not better. Hopefully, we can keep getting better.”

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