Girls soccer to host Longmont Wednesday in playoffs
4A state soccer playoffs
Wednesday's first-round games (times TBD)
No. 8 Steamboat Springs vs. No. 25 Longmont
No. 9 Silver Creek vs. No. 24 Ponderosa
*winners play at higher seed on Saturday
Steamboat Springs — When the Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team upset Montrose in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs last spring, it was the first postseason win since 2006 for the Sailors. Steamboat, seeded No. 20 a year ago, was the hungrier team in its upset of host Montrose, a No. 13 seed.
“That experience absolutely helps us as we go into this postseason,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “That’s been a big part of the progression of this group. Going on the road and being the underdog and having the right approach into that game, the girls competed very, very well, and were ready to go from the opening minute. They learned a valuable lesson.”
The Sailors lost in the second round last year, a 3-2 defeat to rival Battle Mountain, then a No. 4 seed. However, SSHS returned the bulk of those players — there are eight seniors on this year’s team — and has carried that momentum through the 2016 season. Now, it is hoping this postseason is equally as kind.
At 14-1 overall and ranked among the top 10 in the state, it was announced Sunday the Sailors will be a No. 8 seed and host No. 25 seed Longmont (6-9) in Wednesday’s first-round game at Gardner Field. A time had not yet been announced.
“That’s a great seed and we are very honored to have been put in that spot,” Bohlmann said. “They come from a competitive league, and when you are in that environment from week to week, you are going to come to compete, because that’s where they’ve been.”
The No. 8 seed is the highest for the Sailors since being a No. 5 seed in 2005, where they eventually bowed out in the second round. Also, it will be the first time SSHS has hosted a home playoff game in girls soccer since the 2009 season, when it was a No. 11 seed. Steamboat lost 2-1 to No. 22 seed Thompson Valley that year.
While Longmont’s record this season doesn’t intimidate, the Trojans did go 5-2 in a solid league, which includes No. 9 seed Silver Creek (10-4-1), a possible second-round foe for the winner, and No. 17 seed Niwot (10-5).
The only mutual opponent between Steamboat and Longmont was Centaurus (8-6-1), seeded No. 26 in the 4A bracket, the only team to have defeated the Sailors this season. The Warriors upset the Sailors 2-1 in overtime April 2, in Steamboat.
Almost three weeks after that win, Centaurus fell at home to Longmont, 3-2.
“It’s easy to go and look and compare those results. But, just like any of our results, we take away the fact we have been very consistent throughout the season,” Bohlmann said. “We look back and we reflected a lot on that Centaurus game, and we absolutely owned it. The fact that we played well, but we also owned the fact we didn’t do enough to get the result.”
Since the Centaurus loss, which snapped a 7-0 start to the season, the Sailors have hardly been touched. Steamboat enters the 2016 playoffs on a seven-game win streak, and hasn’t allowed a goal in the previous five games, all coming since spring break. That stretch includes a 3-0 win at Battle Mountain that secured Steamboat’s first Western Slope League crown in a decade.
Wednesday, it will be about defending the lofty seed and home turf against Longmont.
“Our success yesterday doesn’t guarantee anything about tomorrow,” Bohlmann said. “That’s very true when you get into a playoff situation. We go back to the fact that we’ve been very consistent all season long. We feel like we really found our form after spring break. Now, it’s one day at a time.”
Should Steamboat win Wednesday’s game, it would host the winner of Silver Creek and No. 24 Ponderosa on Saturday. The winner of the second-round game is likely to face the tournament’s top seed, Lewis-Palmer, in the quarterfinals, barring a major upset in the early rounds.
Also making the 4A playoffs out of the Western Slope are Battle Mountain, a 14 seed, and Palisade, an 11 seed.
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