Sturges hat trick propels Sailors to Round 3 of soccer playoffs
For a four-minute span Wednesday night, there was no better soccer player on the planet than Steamboat Springs junior Jeffrey Sturges.
Up against No. 10 Glenwood Springs at home in the second round of playoffs, the No. 7 Sailors found themselves down at halftime before staging an incredible comeback that included three goals from Sturges in just 3 minutes, 37 seconds.
Steamboat won the game 3-1 and will advance to Round 3.
Sturges and his so-called “treacherous twin,” Matthias Wolf, connected time and time again on the field for a goal. Wolf said passing to Sturges is a no-brainer.
“Jeffrey is always available up there and I’m always looking for him because I know he is lethal up top,” Wolf said. “He is a weapon so I’m putting them up. We’re just that duo.”
Sturges’ first goal came with a header just over the reaching hands of Demons goalie Jan Carlo Arreola. He later got the ball again on a break away pass and managed to bury it in the back of the net to take the 2-1 lead.
According to Sturges, it was a big group effort on the field and scoring that second goal was all the momentum the Sailors needed to put the game away.
“The momentum definitely got us to the end,” Sturges said. “Rob (head coach Rob Bohlmann) always says start fast, finish strong, and I thought after halftime we really did that.”
Fans cheered after Sturges’ second goal, begging for the hat trick. He delivered just 32 seconds later to all but ice the game.
Senior goalkeeper Cole Campbell said during the first half, the Sailors were chasing the game. Glenwood Springs maintained control and moved the ball better than Steamboat. The discussions at the half were solely focused on turning the tides.
“At halftime we talked about dominating the game,” Campbell said. “In the first 10 minutes we wanted to take control and play our game, and we did that.”
Entering Wednesday night’s game, the Sailors and Demons had played head-to-head twice already this season with Steamboat winning both matches. However, Campbell said the third matchup was the first time both teams had their full lineups, making it a completely different game.
Bohlmann told his players in the post-game huddle that while they did not play their best soccer, the resiliency and determination on the field was what helped them advance.
Steamboat will now hit the road for the first time this postseason and take on No. 2 Centaurus on Saturday. The Sailors and Warriors have gone up against each other once this season and Centaurus came out on top 5-0 at home.
“We’re going to enjoy this one for sure, but definitely we will have to get ready for Centaurus because we know how good they are,” Sturges said. “We can bring it too.”
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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