Steamboat drops Battle Mountain, 5-1
Until further notice, the Steamboat Springs girls soccer team remains on the top of the heap of 4A Slope.
The Sailors cruised into Edwards’ Freedom Field and thumped Battle Mountain, 5-1, in a battle between undefeateds with first place in the league on the line. There’s still plenty of soccer to be played, but for now – advantage Steamboat.
“It’s not that we were trying to make a statement,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “We’re proud of our girls in that they felt the hype, saw the hype and they were definitely excited and nervous as you should be before the game. They did well to fight through the unknown, the great crowd here and everything. We struggled the first 15 minutes, but they did well to find it within themselves to settle in with their play.”
“I thought it was more about Steamboat being very good than us being poor,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “When you lose by four goals, I think you could just say that they were better. Let’s just get ready for the next game.”
The Huskies got off to a nice start with a beautiful goal from Stephanie Walker who fired a 22-yard shot from the left side which just eluded Sailors’ goalie Kirsten Ryan 12 minutes into the game.
“It started out really well. We were defending well. We kept our shape. Great goal from Stephanie,” Cope said. “I think one of the thing is we’ve defended so well. We haven’t allowed any goals and that can work against you. Because when you do allow a couple goals, it gets a little scrambled.”
Battle Mountain had entered the game without allowing a goal in its five league wins. But Steamboat’s Kelly Labor broke the seal in the 22nd minute on an assist from Casey Garth. Three minutes later, Lindsay Ellis fed Labor for the tap-in and Steamboat had the lead for good.
Labor finished the day with a hat trick.
“She’s a great player,” Cope said. “We knew coming into the game that No. 14 was going to be the key to their game.”
The game had shaped up as a showdown between Battle Mountain’s strong midfield and backline and Steamboat’s high powered attack. By the last 20 minutes of the first half, it was apparent that the latter was winning out.
‘It took us about a good 15 minutes, but we finally settled in and we were fortunate enough to spread them out and really loosen their back four up defensively and then we found the seams to attack and the holes to attack,” Bohlmann said. “Once we found it, that (last) 20 minutes in the first half, that kind of was the turning point.
Ellis, courtesy of Ann Barney put Steamboat up, 3-1. Barney then sent the game into halftime with the Sailors leading, 4-1. Labor wrapped up her hat trick putting home her own rebound off Huskies keeper Alexis Guinn who made a nice save on the first shot.
Steamboat (7-0 in league and 7-1-1) overall hosts Palisade Thursday and is at Rifle Saturday before its late spring break. Meanwhile, Battle Mountain (5-1, 5-3-1) hosts Delta in Edwards Saturday. The two teams meet again in Steamboat on May 4.
“If before the season had started, you asked me how’d you like to be 5-1 in the first go-(round) through the league, I think we would have taken it,” Cope said with a chuckle. “Let’s see if we can go up to Steamboat now, going 5-0 again, so we go up there on May 4 10-1. That would be a great achievement. We’d already be in the playoffs and we’d be going up there with possible a league title at stake.”
“We anticipate that Battle Mountain will take care of business and the same scenario with the top of the league will be there on that last game on May 4,” Bohlmann said.
Just for kicks
Battle Mountain had its biggest crowd of the season at Freedom Field. “That’s a really nice thing for the community to support the girls,” Cope said. “We hope that they can rattle off a couple of more wins and earn the right to play in front of a big crowd again. The goal for the girls, if we can get in one of those top-two positions, we get a home playoff game and then we’d love to see a big crowd out here again.” … Steamboat’s Lindsay Ellis is the niece of Ante Peros, the Pepi’s men’s soccer team head coach. … Battle Mountain’s snowed out game at Glenwood Springs Saturday has been rescheduled for May 1 at 6 p.m.