Demons fall to Sailors behind second-half struggles
The second half of Thursday’s game between the Glenwood Springs Demons and Steamboat Springs Sailors at Stubler Memorial Field was unkind to the host Demons, as Glenwood gave up a 2-0 lead to drop a 3-2 decision against the rival Sailors.
Glenwood raced out to a 2-0 lead behind early goals in the first and second halves from senior Cameron Degraff, but things snowballed on the Demons midway through the second half as Steamboat scored two goals in 39 seconds before taking a 3-2 lead on an own goal by Glenwood, hanging on late for the win.
“I don’t think there’s a direct mistake we can point to tonight where things went wrong,” Wayne Smith, Glenwood’s head coach said following the loss. “I told the guys at halftime to not get too stretched out defensively, and I wanted to see the midfielders track back because Steamboat presses fast and counters fast.
“I think we got stretched a little bit, and some quick goals happened. I don’t think it’s necessarily a particular defenders fault, they just press hard and fast and we got a little shell shocked. We never quite recovered from that.”
Glenwood came out of the gates quickly Thursday night, as Degraff skied for a header off of a free kick from senior Leo Mireles, slotting the ball home into the upper right corner of the net just 48 seconds into the match, giving the Demons a 1-0 lead at home.
The Demons drove much of the first-half possession until Steamboat found its footing midway through the first half as senior Murphy Bohlmann raced down the left wing before cutting in on goal. Bohlmann’s try clanged off the far right post past a diving Carlos Guardado, keeping the Sailors off the board.
Building momentum, Steamboat nearly scored minutes later as junior Jafet Lopez found himself in a sprint for the ball with Guardado coming out of the box. The two players collided, sending the loose ball caroming into the box, where Bohlmann corralled it. The Steamboat senior fired a shot on goal, but Glenwood senior defender Jack Reinhold got his body in front of the shot, making the save with his thigh to keep the Sailors off the board in the biggest play of the first half.
Coming out of halftime with a 1-0 lead, the Demons added on as Degraff fired home his second goal of the game. Junior Mitchell Burt lofted a corner kick into the box, where junior German Alvarado headed the ball on net. Steamboat’s keeper punched the ball off the crossbar right to Degraff, who laced home a strike into the upper left corner of the net just seven minutes into the second half, giving Glenwood a 2-0 lead.
“I was really pleased with Cameron’s play,” Smith said. “He’s a senior leader and a captain. He’s just a guy that has really reached his full potential. We thought we would see that from him this year, and we definitely saw that in this game. He converted two really big opportunities, and he showed that strength you want to see out of a senior leader.”
With a 2-0 lead, Glenwood looked to put the game away for good, but just under six minutes later, Steamboat got on the board as Bohlmann received a nice touch pass from Lopez through the heart of the Glenwood defense, sending the senior forward streaking in on Guardado in goal.
The Glenwood junior goalkeeper made a fantastic diving save to his right to stop Bohlmann’s initial attempt, but the Steamboat forward cleaned up the rebound, slotting the ball into the upper left corner of the net, making it a 2-1 game with 27:14 left on the clock.
Disaster struck again quickly for Glenwood, as Lopez cashed in for the Sailors on a loose-ball scramble in the box, firing a shot just under the crossbar to tie the game at 2-2 just 39 seconds later, leaving the Demons stunned.
Struggling to get their feet back under them defensively, Glenwood gave up an own goal with 19:55 left in the game after a Lopez run forced the Demons to retreat and play the ball into their own net.
Trailing 3-2 with just under 20 minutes left in the game, the Demons tried to find ways to create quality chances. Glenwood junior Eric Vargas had a good opportunity with 4:49 left in the game as Steamboat’s goalkeeper kicked it right to the junior’s boot on a clearing attempt. However, trying to chip the ball over the keeper, Vargas’s try skimmed over the crossbar, allowing the Sailors to hang on for a 3-2 win on the road.
“It’s a disappointing loss,” Smith said. “It’s reminiscent to the loss to Durango last week. We were in the driver’s seat. I always tell the players to control the things we can control, and the game just changed quickly. We need to stay in the game and not have those types of dramatic breakdowns we had in the second half.
“On a positive note, we came back and had a couple of good chances, but they just didn’t happen.”
Glenwood (1-2) will take Labor Day weekend off before returning to action Thursday, Sept. 6, at Montrose.
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Down 14-7 with less than 11 minutes left in regulation, Rifle head coach Todd Casebier decided it was time to deviate from his ground-and-pound offense for a bit of an aerial attack.