Sailors soccer scores late goals to beat Mullen, advance to state quarterfinals

The Sailors student section was loud as the No. 6 Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team hosted a second-round 4A playoff game against No. 11 Mullen on Saturday, May 14 at Gardner Field.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

If you’re not excited when Gwyn Jamison gets space around the 30-yard line from Steamboat Springs as a sophomore, you haven’t watched enough Sailors football.

With her team trailing 1-0 against Mullen in the final minutes of the second half, Jamison pushed past her defender just outside the 30. With a little space, the left shot the ball towards the goal.

The young Sailor kept putting the same shot into the net, which makes her her trademark. As so often this season, the ball dipped under the crossbar just outside the goalkeeper’s reach and ended the game.

“I think my ears are still ringing from all the shouting,” Jamison said.

With big thanks to Jamison’s equalizer, the No. 6 Sailors defeated No. 11 Mullen 2-1 in a second round playoff game to advance to the 4A State Quarterfinals.

Throughout the game, Jamison had opted to pass rather than shoot, but saw an opportunity with seven minutes remaining.

“I was passing a lot because their defensive center was pretty close to me,” Jamison said. “She had put me on my right foot. I finally got the opportunity to board on the left and saw the whole team in front of me. I looked up and the goalkeeper was pretty far out so I just gave it a shot.”

The atmosphere changed immediately. The Sailors knew they had to win the game, whether it came in the next few minutes or in overtime.

“The second the ball touches our backside, you’re instantly relaxed,” senior Courtney Vargas said. “We’re at it again.”

Confidence coupled with the comfort of no longer playing from behind was the feeling Steamboat needed to generate more scoring chances.

When junior Reina Bomberski saw a kick coming straight at her from Peyton Rand, she recalled something teammate Anabel Ayad had told her earlier.

“Goals come in droves,” Bomberski recalled. “And they did it today.”

Bomberski jumped and touched Rand’s cross pass, turning her head to the left and doing everything she could to nudge the ball towards the net. The Mullen keeper had a finger on it but couldn’t stop it, giving Steamboat a 2-1 lead with two minutes left.

Bomberski’s header was the winner and Jamison’s the savior, but the true turning point of the game may have come sooner.

With 15 minutes to play and her team trailing 0-1, Vargas yelled from the goal line.

“Steamboat takes a deep breath,” she said before a Mullen corner kick. “The game is not over yet.”

Vargas said she felt the previous game was hectic so she wanted to reassure her team and remind them not to panic. From there, Steamboat slowly unfolded the Mustangs’ fingers and took the game out of their hands.

Mullen had the upper hand for most of the second half. Just 21 seconds later, Kate Vezzani, the Mustangs’ second year, gave her team the lead.

Over the next two minutes, Steamboat defensive standout Vargas left the field after receiving a yellow card for the Mustang being offside. It could have gotten ugly very quickly for the sailors.

“It was 0-0 at half-time and we said the next goal, whoever scores first, that’s going to really change the atmosphere on the pitch,” Vargas said. “They scored, of course, but we have such a bond that we weren’t worried at all.”

Steamboat Springs 2, Mullen 1

SS 0 2 – 2

M 0 1 – 1

First half

No value.

Second half

M—Kate Vezzani, 39:39

SS—Gwyn Jamison, 7:15

WP – Reina Bomberski (Peyton Rand), 2:13

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