Eight is enough | SteamboatToday.com

Eight is enough

Steamboat girls overwhelm Moffat County, 8-0

Moffat County High School's Ashleigh Mann, left, fights past Steamboat's Courtney Garth during their match on Gardner Field at Steamboat Springs High School on Friday. Steamboat won, 8-0.
Brian Ray

— The Steamboat Springs girls soccer team, which struggled to finish several shots on net Thursday night, found the answer Friday.

The Sailors held nothing back in an 8-0 rout of the Moffat County Bulldogs (0-2-1), earning their second shutout in the Western Slope League in as many days.

“I thought it was sweet to get back into it,” said senior Lauren Letson, whose two goals book-ended Steamboat’s scoring efforts. “We were given challenges and able to step up.”

Four minutes into the game, Carly Earp found Letson on the right side. She beat the defense for a breakaway shot and buried the ball low.

“That (first goal) reminded me of how last season was,” Letson said.

Moffat County coach Seth Young thought the girls on his team were fixated too much with thoughts of Steamboat teams of years past.

“Historically, we’ve had a hard time with Steamboat,” Young said. “I think they expected a tough game and came in with a weak mindset and : just sitting back and playing defense in the beginning of the game.”

As Moffat County struggled to cross the midfield line, the Steamboat offense continued to find its groove.

Carly Earp generated another scoring opportunity from the backfield, this time sending a wide-open Mandi DeVos the ball to put Steamboat up, 2-0.

DeVos didn’t stop there, capitalizing on defensive breakdowns to score two more shots and to earn herself a hat trick within a seven-minute span.

Moffat County mounted a few attacks into the Steamboat zone with breakaways from Ashleigh Mann, but the Steamboat defense prevented Moffat County from producing more than two first-half shots.

Steamboat senior Sisi Atkinson added another goal, from an Abbey Lewis pass, to put her team up 5-0 at the half.

Although the second half featured prolonged Steamboat possessions, Young was pleased with his team’s improvement.

“Steamboat’s a great team and we can learn a lot from them,” Young said. “It was a great practice experience for us in terms of movement and runs on the ball. I could see real improvement over the course of the game, and our defense played strong.”

Moffat County goalie Stephanie Balderston posted 11 saves in her varsity debut performance and senior sweeper Catherine Compton made a string of clutch stops to support her goalkeeper. But they could only keep the Sailors’ scoring at bay for so long. Freshman Emily Birch set up a breakaway off a give-and-go with Atkinson to go up, 6-0, and then Atkinson and Letson each scored again to cement the win.

“It was important to see two areas of improvement – our work off the ball and on the ball, making better decisions, and linking those two components together,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said.

Steamboat takes on rival Battle Mountain, currently the league’s other undefeated team, at 4 p.m. Thursday in Eagle-Vail.

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