A team of character and grit: No. 2 Sailors fall in 4A quarterfinals to No. 2 Evergreen
With a 2-0 loss to No. 2 Evergreen on Saturday, the No. 10 Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team’s season officially came to an end. The Sailors fell 3-0 to the Cougars, who proved to be the better team. Steamboat never showed signs of giving up or falling back, though, battling until the very end.
Josey Foote was a warrior as goalkeeper. She stopped a number of one-on-one situations and rushed the ball to eliminate others from developing. She gave up three goals but all were well-executed by the Cougars.
The first goal came quickly, just three minutes into the game. For the rest of the first half, both teams fought hard. Steamboat knew they could get back in the game in an instant, and Evergreen knew a one goal advantage wouldn’t be enough.
“We would have liked to have had another 10 minutes in the first half,” Steamboat head coach Rob Bolman said. “We felt like we were finding the game as that half went along. Three minutes in and then a goal, and we slowly started playing. I really wish we would have had another 10 minutes.”
If there would be a day for the previously 11-0 Cougars to falter, it would have been Saturday. The starting netminder was sidelined, so they opted to put one of their top scorers between the pipes instead. With their main goalie and a top scorer eliminated, Evergreen could have played like a disjointed team. That was not the case.
Evergreen was quick to pressure on defense and organized on offense. Attackers tripped up Steamboat defenders, something that’s uncharacteristic for the Sailors. Steamboat also had some players exit the game. Caroline Baur and Jaelie Hovey both took balls to the head, leaving the Sailors without two powerful players in the midfield.
Hovey took a hit to the head but was cleared to return shortly after. Just minutes after returning to the field, she took a direct kick to the head, dropping her to the grass. She didn’t play in the second half. Marissa Drobek also spent more time on the sidelines due to a nagging knee injury. Hailey Moss stepped up and tried to be everywhere to make up for their absence.
Bohlman put in some players who have seen little varsity action and no previous playoff action. Sydney O’Hare created some energy in the final minutes, and Ryan Rand saw time on the field up front as well.
Regardless of who was on the field for Steamboat, Evergreen dominated the second half. The Sailors spent most of their time in the defensive end rather than creating offensive opportunities.
“For the first time all season, we played most of the game without Jaelie Hovey. It was the right thing to do; with that second knock to the head, you got to be careful. A trainer at the game made the right call and said it wasn’t appropriate to put her back in. That had a big impact in our midfield play. She’s been such a tremendous part of the group. … It was certainly more adjustments than you’d like to have to deal with.”
Ten minutes into the second half, the Cougars scored again. A cross pass from the near sideline found Catherine Rapp, who didn’t have to try hard to beat Foote and put the Cougars up 2-0. Another goal with 90 seconds to play sealed the 3-0 win.
“Everybody leaves feeling like they left it on the field this entire season,” said Bohlman. “It’s such an infectious group. They thrive off of each other. They push each other to be the best that they can be. It’s such an amazing group to be around. They’re one of the character. They’re one of grit.”
Evergreen 3, Steamboat Springs 0
May 4 - at Glenwood Springs, W 3-1
May 8 - at Battle Mountain, W 1-0
May 11 - versus Glenwood Springs, W 2-0
May 21 - at Palisade, W 3-2 (OT)
May 25 - versus Eagle Valley, W 4-1
May 27 - versus Palisade, W 3-0
June 1 - versus Battle Mountain, L 2-1
June 3 - versus Summit, W 1-0
June 5 - at Eagle Valley, W 4-0
June 12 - at Summit, W 6-0
June 16 - First round playoff at No. 7 Durango, W 2-1
June 19 - Second round playoff No. 2 Evergreen, L 3-0
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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Steamboat Springs 2021 graduate Thomas Lewer will always set lofty goals.