Glenwood, Steamboat fit to be tied
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Hope Whitman’s long-range shot sailed over the soccer crossbar and off the football crossbar positioned just above the soccer goal at Glenwood Springs High School.
The home crowd at Stubler Memorial Field erupted when Glenwood’s Michaela Mansfield headed the resulting ricochet past Steamboat Springs goalkeeper Hanna Berglund. A packed house thought its Demons had netted the golden goal that put the 4A Western Slope League champion Sailors away.
Not so, as the football crossbar is technically out of bounds.
Moments later, the whistle blew on the second half of overtime and Friday’s matchup of Slope girls soccer heavyweights officially went down as a scoreless draw.
But that late sequence served as a fitting end to a day littered with near-misses, stifling defense and stingy goalkeeping.
For two teams heading to the 4A playoffs next week, and accustomed to beating up on the rest of the league, a heated draw was a welcome sight.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” Glenwood Springs coach Bryan Stoltzfus said. “I’m sure their coach and I agree this is what you want before the playoffs. It’s a tie, so nobody’s bummed, but it keeps you grounded.”
Steamboat Springs coach Rob Bohlmann did, in fact, share Stoltzfus’ perspective.
“Both teams gave a great, blue-collar effort,” he said. “The result was pretty fair. Both teams had opportunities throughout the game, you know? I think it was a pretty fair result. … The pressures of a tight game like that is good preparation for both teams as we head into the playoffs.”
Glenwood (12-1-1 overall, 9-1-0 in league) had perhaps the two best looks at goal.
Whitman’s overtime blast, which came after she knocked down a Steamboat clearance attempt deep in the Demons’ offensive zone, missed its mark by only a few inches. Not bad, considering it was from probably 30 yards out.
“That last shot ” I was so mad at myself,” Whitman said. “But at least we tied. The last time we lost 4-1.”
Another near-miss came with about 25 minutes to go in regulation, though, when Mansfield headed a ball past Berglund that appeared destined for the net. But Steamboat’s Courtney Garth rushed to her keeper’s aid and made the save of the game, booting the ball out of harm’s way at the last possible moment.
Garth chalked it up to being at the right place at the right time.
“It was one of those things that just goes through your head and you don’t really think about,” she said. “I knew our keeper was coming out and it was time for me to go back and cover for her, just in case. The fact the ball went over her head made me look good.”
Berglund certainly helped her own cause a number of times, coming up to challenge shots at the right times and making a number of sprawling saves.
Glenwood Springs’ goalkeeping tandem of Shannon O’Gara-Standiford and Anna Wiltse were equally frustrating to their opposition, combining on nine saves. Each played half the game.
Both teams will learn their playoff fate on Sunday when the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) soccer seeding committee meets to map out the 32-team playoff field. First-round games will be held Tuesday and Wednesday.
Both the Sailors and Demons think Friday’s regular-season finale will go a long way in preparing them for what they’ll see in the second season.
“Both teams did everything they could have done,” said Garth, whose team wrapped the regular season at 11-3-1 overall and 10-0-1 in the 4A WSL. “It’s a good game to prepare for the playoffs.”
Notes: Friday’s game was originally scheduled for March 27 but was postponed by bad weather. … The teams first met in Steamboat on March 14. The Sailors won that one by a score of 4-1. … Friday’s game counted only toward the teams’ overall records and not toward the 4A WSL standings. Only their first meeting did.
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