Wilson’s saves power Sailors win

Joel Reichenberger

— The formula seems to be set for the Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team, and Thursday night, the Sailors rode that math to a 2-1 home victory against Eagle Valley.

Junior Mackenzie Gansmann was again fast and strong on the outside offensively, scoring one goal. Her classmate, Natalie Bohlmann, was a force in the center on offense, slamming in another goal from 25 yards out. And, junior Ocoee Wilson backed it all up, providing the kind of brick-wall defense as goalie that surely allows her teammates to sleep just a little bit easier the night before a game.

Steamboat got up 2-0 in the first half, and a series of spectacular saves by Wilson ensured that would be enough.

“That goalkeeper is phenomenal,” Eagle Valley coach Stephen Baxter said. “That’s something I’ve never seen. The scoreboard wouldn’t have read the same if it wasn’t for what she did.”

Wilson was a hero in Steamboat’s last win — a 3-2 victory against Summit — thanks to her offense; she scored the winning goal in overtime on a penalty kick.

Her natural place on this team is as goalie, however, and Thursday, she made just as great an impact there.

Eagle Valley played well throughout the game and generated plenty of opportunities, even in the first half as it fell behind by one, then two goals.

Devils’ senior Mariel Gutierrez was fearless as she danced through the Sailors defense time and time again. Steamboat senior Caroline Walters drew the defensive match up much of the game and did plenty to push Gutierrez off her line and slow her progress. Gutierrez still drew “did you see that?” compliments from her opponents after the game. She couldn’t finish a goal until the second half, however. She finally connected when she headed in a corner kick midway through the second half.

Some of that was thanks to Walters and the Steamboat defense. Some was thanks to Wilson.

“Ocoee gives me chills,” Gansmann said. “You think one’s going in, and you’re like, ‘Darn it!’ Then she comes and grabs it.

“We were working really well together tonight. We’ve been playing together for so long, we really know each other’s strengths. I know I can look for Natalie in the middle, or that Ocoee can save one. We’re all counting on each other.”
Steamboat improved to 3-0 with the win, and Eagle Valley dropped to 2-1. The Devils are eager to try to even the score with the Sailors, and they won’t have to wait long. The two teams meet again Tuesday, this time on Eagle Valley’s home turf.

That’s the next game for Steamboat. Eagle Valley will first play Saturday at home against Glenwood Springs.

“We were hoping for the win, but a 2-1 victory for Steamboat is awesome,” Baxter said. “For us to keep it that close, I’m proud. We were close. We see them again in a week. We’ll work on a couple of things and go from there.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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