‘Go us’: Steamboat girls soccer faces Durango in 1st-round playoff game
Steamboat Springs junior varsity soccer player Olivia Hale googled how to draw a donkey a few times before attempting to replicate the animal on poster board. What she came up with looked pretty good. She drew a front view of a donkey head and added it in replacement of a word on a sign that read “Go kick some *donkey image*”
She brought it to Steamboat Springs High School on Tuesday afternoon to display as the Sailors girls varsity soccer team departed for Durango. The No. 10 Sailors will face the No. 7 Demons in a 4A first round playoff game Wednesday.
It will be a long ride, and the girls came prepared. Senior goalkeeper Josie Foote brought a bag of barbecue chicken from Safeway, senior Sydney O’Hare brought a frog-shaped pillow, and senior Hailey Moss brought four pairs of sweats for the trip. Every girl showed up in a white Steamboat soccer shirt and black shorts, emphasizing just how much of a team they are.
A police escort and a parade of cars marked the team’s departure to the southwest corner of the state.
The team went 9-1 this year and thinks it is as prepared as it could possibly be for the playoff game — its first since the 2019 season.
“I hadn’t been to many practices, but the practice I went to yesterday gave me literal chills,” said senior Mollie Brown, who is recovering from a knee injury. “The amount we’ve changed and progressed from the beginning of the season is crazy and so well deserved. I think we’ve been working so hard as a team and connecting so well.”
Not only are the Sailors physically prepared, but they also feel like they are in the right place mentally. A late season loss to Battle Mountain may have dashed the hopes of a perfect season, but the setback taught the Sailors a valuable lesson. They went in thinking it would be easy. They were a great team, and Battle Mountain was a fine team, but the Huskies came away with the win because of that attitude.
Ever since, Steamboat has shown up to every game knowing they can lose at any time. They’ll bring that same cautious confidence into Wednesday’s playoff game.
“I think a lot of the games we go into thinking we got this in the bag, typically, we don’t perform as well,” O’Hare said. “If we’re all in the right head space and go into it knowing nothing is promised, we’ve got to get the job done and go from there.”
Foote thinks that if the team plays like it knows it can play, Steamboat will have little trouble securing a win. The Sailors’ wins against Glenwood Springs, Palisade and Summit were a complete effort with few mistakes and the entire roster on the same page. Foote, the goalie, thinks defense is the team’s strength and scoring against Durango will be its biggest challenge.
“Our forwards will just go out and attack, because they don’t have to worry about us getting scored on,” she said. “We’ll just worry about scoring. We’ll go out there and play our game.”
Durango is 9-0-1 and has only allowed three goals the entire spring.
“Kudos to every single one of us for bringing it and being a part — a big contributor for this team,” Moss said. “Bench and on the field, everyone brings their all. Go us.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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