Sailors, Raptors set to collide in second round of soccer playoffs | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors, Raptors set to collide in second round of soccer playoffs

Austin Colbert

SSHS senior Natalie Bohlmann, No. 12, is surrounded by her teammates after she scored her third goal against Longmont on Wednesday at Gardner Field.

— The first week of the Silver Creek High School girls soccer team's season was forgettable. The Raptors opened the spring with a 4-0 loss to Lewis-Palmer, the top-seeded team in this month's Class 4A state playoff bracket. Injuries and illnesses led to a 1-3-1 start.

"The girls have responded really well, and they are doing some great things right now," Silver Creek coach Pat Monacelli said. "The girls rebounded. We always knew, even through the rough part … we knew what we had. It was just a matter of getting everyone healthy."

Since then, the Raptors have won 10 of 11 matches and now stand 11-4-1 overall heading into Saturday's second-round playoff game at Gardner Field. As the tournament's No. 9 seed, Silver Creek will face No. 8 Steamboat Springs High School (15-1 overall) at 10 a.m., a spot in the state quarterfinals going to the winner.

The Sailors defeated No. 25 Longmont 6-1 in the first round Wednesday, while Silver Creek beat No. 24 Ponderosa, 2-0. Coincidentally, Silver Creek High School is located only four miles from Longmont High School.

"Since we are really closely ranked, it should be a good game," Steamboat junior defender Maggie Henry said. "It will be a good challenge for us and a good test of our team. But, I think we can definitely do it. I'm really excited for it."

Neither team has found much success advancing beyond the second round in recent years. The Sailors are playing a second playoff game in back-to-back seasons after an eight-year stretch without a postseason win. That season, in 2006, Steamboat lost 3-0 as a No. 10 seed to No. 7 seed Silver Creek in the second round.

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The Raptors haven't advanced past the second round since 2010, when they made the quarterfinals as an eight seed.

Both teams have one state title to their name, Silver Creek's coming in 2008 in 4A and Steamboat's coming in 1998 in 3A.

"We definitely expect a great match," said Monacelli, who is in his sixth season with Silver Creek. "Without seeing each other play, I think you look at those in-common games and see what kind of information you can extrapolate from that."

The teams have faced two mutual opponents this season. Both lost to Centaurus — the Warriors defeated SSHS in overtime April 2, the Sailors only loss, and defeated Silver Creek 2-0 April 12, the Raptors' only loss in their last 11 games. The other mutual opponent is Battle Mountain, which lost to Silver Creek 2-0 March 28. Steamboat has defeated its league rival twice this spring, 5-0 and 3-0, en route to an undefeated league season.

Both coaches know to take the mutual games with a grain of salt. After all, Centaurus also lost 3-2 to Longmont, the same team the Sailors rolled over in the first round.

"You can take some information away from those, but it's hard to really put your finger on it," Monacelli said. "Every game in the high school season is a little bit different … knowing the story behind the score is sometimes very difficult."

Silver Creek enters Saturday's game on a six-game winning streak, having outscored its opponents 28-1 over that stretch. The Sailors have won eight straight, outscoring their opponents 35-3. On the season, SSHS has outscored teams 67-7, while Silver Creek has 42 goals to 12 given up.

Senior Bayly Herman leads the Raptors with 11 goals. Freshman Annalise Teasdale is second with seven.

"I really like how strong we are, defensively," Monacelli said. "We are not the highest-scoring team by any stretch of the imagination — we score the goals we need to score. We just have a really strong defense."

Steamboat has, at times, been an offensive juggernaut this season, scoring at least three goals in 12 of its 16 games. The Sailors have never been shutout and have only been held to fewer than two goals once — in their 2-1 overtime loss to Centaurus.

Senior Natalie Bohlmann leads the Sailors with 15 goals, followed by 11 from senior MacKenzie Gansmann. Both girls also lead the team with 10 assists each.

"We will continue to play as we play. We'll look to make some slight adjustments that are needed for the opposition," SSHS coach Rob Bohlmann said. "It's not like we are trying to reinvent what we are doing. We are just trying to make it a little sharper, a little better."

The winner of Saturday's game will play in the state quarterfinals Thursday against the winner of No. 1 seed Lewis-Palmer and No. 16 seed D'Evelyn.

Battle Mountain, a 14 seed, is also alive out of the Western Slope and will play at No. 3 seed Windsor at 6 p.m. Saturday in the second round. The other WSL team to have made the 4A bracket, No. 11 seed Palisade, lost to No. 22 Holy Family in the first round, 1-0.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email acolbert@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

If you go

What: Sailors girls soccer vs. Silver Creek

When: 10 a.m. Saturday

Where: Gardner Field

More information: This is a second-round playoff game in Class 4A, with the winner headed to the state quarterfinals.