Sailors soccer scores late goals to beat Mullen, advances to state quarterfinals
If you’re not getting excited when Steamboat Springs sophomore Gwyn Jamison gets space around the 30-yard line, you haven’t watched enough Sailors soccer.
With her team down 1-0 in the waning minutes of the second half against Mullen, Jamison pushed past her defender just outside the 30. With a little bit of room, the lefty launched the ball toward the goal.
The young Sailor has sent that same shot on net time and again, making it her signature move. As it has many times this season, the ball dipped under the crossbar just out of the goalkeeper’s reach, tying the game.
“I think my ears are still ringing from all the screaming,” Jamison said.
Thanks in large part to Jamison’s tying goal, the No. 6 Sailors defeated No. 11 Mullen 2-1 in a second-round playoff game to advance to the 4A state quarterfinals.
Steamboat will play at No. 3 Durango on Tuesday, May 17.
All game, Jamison had opted to pass rather than shoot, but with seven minutes left in the game, she saw an opportunity.
“I was doing a lot of passing because their defensive mid was pretty tight on me,” Jamison said. “She had been putting me on my right foot. I finally got the opportunity to get on my left and I saw the whole team in front of me. I looked up and the goalie was pretty far out, so I just went for it.”
Immediately, the atmosphere changed. The Sailors knew the game was theirs to win whether it would come in the next few minutes or in overtime.
“The second the ball hits the back of the net, instantly you’re relaxed,” said senior Courtney Vargas. “We’re back in this.”
Confidence, paired with the solace of no longer playing from behind, was the feeling Steamboat needed to generate more scoring chances.
As junior Reina Bomberski saw a kick from Peyton Rand coming right at her, she remembered something teammate Anabel Ayad told her earlier.
“Goals come in flows,” Bomberski recalled. “And they did today.”
Bomberski jumped and made contact with the cross from Rand, flicking her head to the left and doing all she could to urge the ball toward the net. The Mullen keeper got a finger on it, but couldn’t stop it, giving Steamboat a 2-1 lead with two minutes to play.
Bomberski’s go-a-header was the winner and Jamison’s was the savior, but the true turning point in the game may have come even earlier.
With 15 minutes to play and her team down 1-0, Vargas yelled from the goal line.
“Steamboat take a deep breath,” she said ahead of a Mullen corner kick. “The game isn’t over.”
Vargas said she felt like the previous play was frantic, so she wanted to calm her team down and remind them not to panic. From there, Steamboat slowly unfurled the Mustangs’ fingers and took the game from their grip.
Mullen had the upper hand for much of the second half. Just 21 seconds in, Mustangs sophomore Kate Vezzani gave her team the lead.
In the next two minutes, Steamboat defensive standout Vargas left the field after earning a yellow card, Sailors senior keeper Sam Campbell blocked a shot out of bounds to give Mullen a corner kick, and another shot rang off the crossbar and a goal got called back as the Mustang was offside. Things could have gotten ugly for the Sailors very quickly.
“It was zero-zero at half and we said the next goal, whoever scores first that’s going to really change the atmosphere on the field,” Vargas said. “They obviously scored, but we have such a connection that we weren’t worried at all.”
Steamboat Springs 2, Mullen 1
SS 0 2 – 2
M 0 1 – 1
M – Kate Vezzani, 39:39
SS – Gwyn Jamison, 7:15
SS – Reina Bomberski (Peyton Rand), 2:13
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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