Beating defending champs harder than expected
Monument — Throughout the past week, the Steamboat Springs soccer team has talked of ways they could upset Lewis-Palmer in the state playoffs.
Saturday in Monument, the Sailors learned beating the defending Class 4A champs is easier said than done. The Rangers scored four times in the first half and added five more in the second to roll past the Sailors 9-2 in the second round of the playoffs.
“We knew coming in that they had a powerhouse soccer program down here,” Steamboat senior Jason Sirois said.
“We played pretty well for the first 10 minutes, but then they scored and I think we got a little scared.”
The Rangers’ first goal came with 28:26 left to play in the first half. Lewis-Palmer’s Bobby Burling took a pass from Eric Bongenrief and knocked it past Sailors goalkeeper Chris Gibson.
A few minutes later, the Rangers extended the lead when junior midfielder Tim Kerstein scored after getting an assist from Brett Beatty. Then with just more than 6 minutes left to play, Lewis-Palmer scored again on Drew Phillips’ penalty kick.
“That’s when things got pretty tough,” Steamboat’s Mike Rinn said. “Once you are down three or four you have to start pushing and taking chances. They took advantage of the situation when we were pushing and we couldn’t stop them.”
Rinn was able to lift Steamboat’s spirits a bit with less than 2 minutes remaining in the half.
He picked up a rebound off a Sirois shot and beat Lewis-Palmer goalie John Mann for Steamboat’s first goal of the game. But at the end of the half, the Sailors still trailed 4-1.
In the second, the Rangers were able to open things up against the Sailors. Lewis-Palmer goals came from Burling, Corey Stone and freshman Andrew Pollard. Kerstein also added two more to complete the hat trick for the night.
Rinn added another unassisted goal to the Sailors’ total, but the team was never able to rally.
“I feel like we played our game tonight but things just didn’t go our way,” Rinn said. “Everybody out there played 80 minutes of hard soccer. I don’t feel like we have anything to hang our heads about.”
Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann agreed.
“I feel like our guys went out there and worked hard the entire game. We just didn’t take care of business in our penalty area and they took advantage of that,” the coach said after the game.
He said the hard, narrow football field the game was on favored Lewis-Palmer’s style of soccer. The Rangers’ quick strikers were able to catch up with balls knocked downfield, forcing Steamboat goalie Gibson into several one-on-one situations.
The Rangers finished with 19 shots on goal compared to Steamboat’s six.
“I think that we set a good example for some of the younger players this season,” Sirois said. “There is a legacy that goes along with this program and the seniors feel like we did our part.”
Bohlmann said he was satisfied with what the team accomplished.
“We won the Western Slope league again this year, we showed well in the regional and it was a good season,” Bohlmann said. “At times we were like Jekyll and Hyde, but I’m really proud of the way these kids played.”
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