Steamboat girls soccer sweeps Eagle Valley | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat girls soccer sweeps Eagle Valley





Steamboat Springs' Kate Verploeg flies toward the ball Saturday during a 6-0 victory against Eagle Valley. The Sailors smashed home five goals in the first half to set up the big win.
Joel Reichenberger

— It slows her down, Gracie Whelihan admitted.

The Steamboat Springs High School senior broke her wrist in the fall while training with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's freestyle ski team, and after the Steamboat girls soccer team showdown with Eagle Valley on Saturday, she looked positively happy as she slipped off a large cast she wore during the game.

"I've gotten used to it, but it was difficult at first," she said. "It's heavy, so I'm off balance, and I'm a lot more timid because I don't want it to get hit."

It may have slowed her, but the broken wrist hasn't stopped Whelihan. She smoked in a goal from 25 yards late in the first half against the Devils, just one of the flurry of scores that lifted the Sailors to an easy win against Eagle Valley.

A teamwide effort netted the Sailors a 6-0 victory, sweet relief after a bitter 2-1 loss at home to Battle Mountain on Thursday.

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"It was just a good way to get our game back after the Battle Mountain game," Whelihan said. "We had fun and connected out there."

Whelihan's score capped a decisive first half. Steamboat plugged in four before her strike and went to the break with a 5-0 lead.

Senior Sydney Bauknecht and sophomore Tatum Sear each scored twice and Keagan Scronek scored the second half's only goal, setting the final score.

"Their biggest strength is team," Eagle Valley coach Jason Rittmiller said about the Sailors. "Every pass has somewhere to go and everyone knows where they're supposed to be. They are about the team playing together."

For their part, the Devils were happy they accomplished focusing on small aspects of the game.

They managed to stem Steamboat's tide in the second half, and while that wasn't nearly enough for a win, it was something to focus on.

"We were missing a few girls, and we were playing out of position, so there was a bit of an adjustment period for us," Rittmiller said. "We need to work on refinement. We have the major skills, and we need to work on refining that."

Steamboat, 5-1 this season and 2-1 in the Western Slope, returns to action Friday with a trip to Moffat County High School.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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