Steamboat girls soccer not itself in first loss of the season

Steamboat Springs High School soccer player Gwyn Jamison is knocked to the turf during a game against Battle Mountain on Tuesday night. (Shelby Reardon)

Maybe it was the post-graduation feeling, or maybe the fact that it was a very Monday-feeling Tuesday following a long weekend. Whatever it was, the Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team was not itself.

The Sailors gave away the ball and spent more time defending than generating scoring chances, allowing Battle Mountain to become the first team to defeat the Sailors all season with a 2-1 victory from Gardner Field.

“We kind of just started out on the wrong foot,” Gwyn Jamison said. “We’ve had a pretty successful season, and our egos weren’t too big, but they weren’t small enough, I should say. We were just a little nervous.”

After the game, as the solemn Sailors gathered, a Battle Mountain coach came over and wished the team good luck in the playoffs.

“You’re a much better team than that score indicates,” he said.

Battle Mountain and Steamboat went into the second half tied at one goal each.

In the first 10 minutes of the second half, Sailors senior Jaelie Hovey had a pair of scoring chances. For the first, she approached the goal from the right side, then booted an arcing pass to a teammate, but the ball floated up and out of bounds. A few minutes later, Hovey got a through ball from the midfield. She beat her defender in front of the goal and took a shot. The Husky keeper was there, but the ball bounced loose. Darby Martinez collected the rebound and passed sideways to Ellory Hodges, who fired on goal, but the shot drifted wide.

Hovey held her hands to her head in disbelief.

With 22 minutes left on the clock, Bohlman sent in junior keeper Sam Campbell. Just three minutes later, the Huskies put their first shot on Campbell. The Sailor stood against the post, awaiting the shot, which squeezed by her as it rang off the post. Battle Mountain led 2-1.

With less than five minutes to play, Steamboat increased the pace and played with a sense of urgency. They spent more time pressuring the Battle Mountain defense, but no shot went in.

The Huskies came into the game 2-2-2 but showed up with energy and determination. Steamboat’s touches always seemed to find a Husky player. Battle Mountain wanted to be the first to steal a game from the Sailors.

“They gave us an environment that we haven’t really seen this season,” head coach Rob Bohlman said. “They’re high pressure. The way they pressed gave us very little time and space to play the ball. We never quite adapted to that.”

Steamboat was spending more time in its defensive end than anywhere else. On an offensive opportunity, Reina Bombierski was tripped in the box, drawing a penalty kick. Jamison took the kick and aimed left. The Huskies goalie watched helplessly as the goal gave Steamboat a 1-0 lead with 18:37 left to play.

As the clock ticked past 11:00, Battle Mountain senior Gabby Caballero advanced up the field. Steamboat keeper Josey Foote rushed the ball. The move wasn’t unusual for Foote. She’s generally an aggressive goalie and is confident in her ability to win the ball against an approaching player.

This time, the Huskies player won out. The ball bounced off Foote’s chest and back to Caballero, who tapped the ball over a falling Foote and into the net.

The loss may conclude a chance at a perfect season, but it won’t end anything else. Steamboat is still one of the top ranked 4A teams based on RPI and, unless something drastic happens, will have a spot in the 16-team playoff bracket.

“We just move on from here,” Jamison said. “Like Rob was talking about, we have an hour to feel bad and mad about it, and then we move on and keep improving.”

Battle Mountain 2, Steamboat Springs 1

BM 1 1 – 2

SS 1 0 – 1

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