Steamboat girls soccer clinches 2nd straight conference title with win over Battle Mountain
The Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team is the Western Slope champion for the second straight year thanks to a 3-1 win over Battle Mountain on Thursday, May 5, at Gardner Field.
The game was tougher than the score let on, with the Huskies leading 1-0 at the half, but adjustments and desire earned Steamboat the win.
“It’s the most insane feeling,” said senior Ellie Blair. “Coming down from a half when you’re losing 1-0 in one of your biggest games, it’s not a great feeling. Then your whole team coming together and playing for each other and scoring three in the second half – beautiful goals – feels insane.”
The team is now 11-2 overall and 8-0 against Western Slope teams.
Steamboat had to work for its first goal, served by sophomore Gwyn Jamison nine minutes into the second half. Seniors Ellery Hodges, Macy Reisman and junior Reina Bomberski all sent juicy rebounds back on net, but all flew wide.
Bomberski had a dangerous one-on-one chance and she rocketed the ball to the top left corner of the net, but the Huskies goalie was there.
When senior Darby Martinez finally got a great through ball and dashed toward the goal, the Battle Mountain keeper attacked, dove and collected the ball.
Hodges said the offense knows how to handle a tough goalie, though.
“Stay low and aim for the corners and always be ready to follow that,” she said. “If they block it and it pings off, your teammate is there to sweep it up.”
When getting in the goalie’s face and pressuring wasn’t working, the Sailors adjusted their formation and gave her a shot she couldn’t get in front of.
Jamison launched from a third of the way down the field. The shot arced over the Huskies defense and toward the keeper. She reached toward the cross bar, but the ball was just out of reach.
With the goal, the Sailors were re-energized and the game was tied. There was no sense of relief, though. Not yet.
Ever since Battle Mountain’s goal, which came with 7:30 left in the first half, the Sailors were deflated and having flashbacks of last year’s loss to the Huskies, the sole blemish on their otherwise perfect regular season.
Blair said it was a scary feeling, especially paired with the emotions of senior night, which Hodges said the team had to “snap out of.”
With 13 minutes to play, Hodges booted the ball toward the net. The Huskies keeper stopped the shot, but let a rebound roll toward Martinez. Not taking any chances, the senior striker tapped the ball gently over the goal line.
Three minutes later, Martinez chased down a through ball toward the corner. She drilled the ball across the field to Jamison, who spun around a defender just feet from the goal line, then used a swift kick to score.
From there, the Sailors just had to keep the Huskies at bay for nine and a half minutes.
Blair, one of the Sailors that supports a tough back line, said one Huskies player kept them on guard, but she was happy with how they handled her.
“They had that player out wide that hung out the whole time,” she said. “It was just being able to manage that, seeing the whole field and trying to know where she was the whole time. It really took a lot of awareness and mental toughness, but in the second half we locked that down.”
Steamboat has one game left in the regular season on Saturday, May 7 at Eagle Valley.
Steamboat Springs 3, Battle Mountain 1
SS 0 3 – 1
BM 1 0 – 1
BM – 7:34
SS – Gwyn Jamison, 21:18
SS – Darby Martinez (Ellery Hodges), 13:00
SS – Jamison, 9:41
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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