STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It took 80 minutes to be finalized, but 11 minutes to be decided. The Steamboat Springs girls soccer team roared past Eagle Valley on Thursday night thanks to a game full of solid play accented by one high-scoring stretch.
The Sailors poured in three goals in an 11-minute span of the first half to roll to a 4-1 victory.
“We were able to solve the problem and get the timing down,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “They were pressing out and there was all that space behind. It was just a matter of solving the problem.”
Eagle Valley got on the board first with a goal from Mariel Gutierrez, but much of the game came down to how well the Devils handled Steamboat’s attack as the first half wore on.
Eliza Leeson answered Gutierrez’s goal with 12 minutes remaining in the first half, then Mackenzie Gansman gave the Sailors the lead, cutting a ball across the face of the goal and into the net for a 2-1 advantage.
Finally, Natalie Bohlmann capped a great team effort six-pass, length-of-the-field drive with a goal with one minute remaining in the first half, giving Steamboat breathing room.
“Psychologically, that made a big difference,” Rob Bohlmann said.
Eagle Valley was stronger on defense in the second half as goalie Lauren Thorpe took more gambles, charging again and again out to head off through balls. She narrowly beat attacking Sailors to at least three more near-goals, but the Devils couldn’t make a dent in Steamboat’s defense to dig into the lead.
“Their through ball just overpowered our defense,” Eagle Valley coach Stephen Baxter said. “Our defense was holding the line strong. They had a couple offensive folks who were faster than our strong defenders.
“Kudos to them. (Steamboat) came out strong and looked really good.”
Gansman scored a second time, converting a corner kick with a high, looping shot over Thorpe’s head to set the final score.
Steamboat (2-1) hits the road today to play at Palisade while Eagle Valley (2-2) is at Glenwood Springs.