Steamboat soccer downs D’Evelyn at state | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat soccer downs D’Evelyn at state

Win is Steamboat’s 1st in playoffs since 2003

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs' Vincent Kretzchmar scores an early goal against D'Evelyn, helping the team to a 1-0 win on Thursday.

Editor’s note: The last time the Steamboat Springs High School soccer team won a state playoff game was fall 2003. The team beat Evergreen. That information has been corrected below.

Phew. That had to have felt good.

The proverbial monkey is off the back. The Steamboat Springs High School soccer team went down to Denver, played in frigid weather on a slick field and controlled possession.

But this time, the team won.

Steamboat, the 19th seed, beat No. 14 D'Evelyn, 1-0, on Thursday in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.

"The only thing I'll say is watching (assistant coach) Diego (Girard) running out at the closing whistle and rushing (goalkeeper) Carter (Kounovsky)," Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said before pausing, "It's such a great thing watching everybody run out there. It was just taking in that moment."

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For Steamboat, this is a big win. Steamboat has had opportunities the past couple of years, even hosted games, but the Sailors never could quite win. Just two years ago, Steamboat lost to D'Evelyn by same score on an own goal.

It was the first time the Sailors had a playoff soccer win since 2003.

That year, the team beat Evergreen on Dudley Field.

"You could go off the bench, and there is no drop in the quality of play for this team," said Ben Beall, who played on a 2000 team that also picked up a playoff victory. "That's what sets this team apart from the past few years. That's something that the team in 2000 had was a deep bench. There was quality throughout."

The way Thursday's win happened was trademark Steamboat possession soccer, a growing tough defense and a sophomore goalie who is playing years beyond his age.

The Sailors got the lead in the 10th minute when Vincent Kretzschmar hit a one-timer from 25 yards out to give Steamboat a 1-0 advantage.

From there, Steamboat took control of the pace of play and possession with an experienced midfield and defense. The Sailors were able to control the game until a penalty kick with 17 minutes left.

Sophomore keeper Kounovsky made a save. D'Evelyn never really pushed forward, and the Sailors controlled the rest of the game.

"He was ready for that," said Girard, who has been working with Kounovsky the past two weeks on reading penalty kicks. "He made the call and knew that ball was going to the right. He read the body language."

Considering where the team has been this year alone — battling injuries and some goof-ups to top players — Steamboat could have considered making the playoffs a success.

But this group, winners of the first playoff game since 2003, developed something different.

"This is not just something that started in August," Bohlmann said. "For this group, it's not a monkey off the back; it's what they knew this season. They earned this result. Here's the thing. They had the potential for sure. It's not that you don't work your tail off and try hard. But a lot of times, things just happen and develops and it creates a great culture. That's what's transpiring with this group."

Steamboat next plays Saturday at third-seeded Air Academy. The time should be announced Friday.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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