STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It wasn’t the way Steamboat soccer senior Peter White said he had dreamed of winning a sudden-death game, but he will take it nonetheless.
For the second time in as many games, the Sailors battled into the second overtime, this time taking down league foe Eagle Valley, 2-1, on Thursday night in the game’s final minutes. White’s initial shot deflected off teammate Hector Lopez, but White collected the rebound, waited for the Eagle Valley keeper to make a move and put the winner in the back of the net.
The tight contest wasn’t exactly something White and company were expecting out of an Eagle Valley squad the Sailors shut out twice last year.
“Last year Eagle Valley did not come up and play like this, but I think, as the game progressed, we changed our game a little bit and played up to their physicality,” White said.
Both Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann and Eagle Valley coach Bratzo Horruitiner agreed the game was decided in the midfield. Bohlmann said the Devils’ alignment of five players in the back, three in the midfield and two up top challenged the Sailors.
Adjustments were made, but Eagle Valley’s defense was unrelenting for much of the contest. Constantly applying pressure, Bohlmann said, was key.
“At times we had some good patience and were knocking around, but just couldn’t quite crack it,” Bohlmann said. “Sometimes that’s the game. You just have to find that one moment at the end that gets it done, and it comes from continuing to apply the pressure. You just find a way to get it done.”
The Devils struck first in the 10th minute when Alan Caraveo headed in teammate Aaron Ledezma’s corner kick past Sailors keeper Jake Andersen.
A scrum near Eagle Valley’s keeper resulted in a popped-up ball in the 31st minute, and Steamboat’s Charlie Beurskens capitalized with the unassisted equalizer. Knotted at 1-1, it would turn out to be the final goal of regulation.
Feeling the Burn
Since Tuesday’s double-overtime showdown at 2012 state champion Battle Mountain, Steamboat has played nearly 200 minutes in just 48 hours.
Coaches and players were reluctant to blame Thursday’s close contest on fatigue alone, but admitted the team could use some rest.
“Coming off that game, definitely we are physically taxed,” White said. “We aren’t 100 percent, physically. We’re pretty tired still. This is not our best game that we played.”
Just minutes following White’s game-clinching goal, Bohlmann and assistant Casey Barnett addressed the team and praised their resiliency.
“What we saw is we had two really hard-fought goals on our side,” Barnett said. “We didn’t have any of those clear chances that we had in the Battle Mountain game where we had some pretty goals. These were two hard-fought goals … It shows how hard they were working to get that first goal and the winning goal at the end.”
A disappointed Horruitiner applauded his Steamboat Springs opponent, but grinned at the notion of facing the Sailors later this month in Gypsum.
“Now they’ll have to come to the Devils’ house,” Horruitiner said.