Lewis-Palmer dominant in girls' soccer quarterfinal win

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Photo - Lewis-Palmer players, left to right, Brenna Oakey, Annica Fletemeyer and Kate Devine celebrate Fletemeyer's goal putting Lewis Palmer up 1-0 in the first half of their 3-0 win over Steamboat Thursday, May 19, 2016 in girls' soccer playoff action at Don Breese Stadium in Monument. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Lewis-Palmer players, left to right, Brenna Oakey, Annica Fletemeyer and Kate Devine celebrate Fletemeyer's goal putting Lewis Palmer up 1-0 in the first half of their 3-0 win over Steamboat Thursday, May 19, 2016 in girls' soccer playoff action at Don Breese Stadium in Monument. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Monument - Just two minutes in, Steamboat Springs put a quality shot on goal.

After that, it was all Lewis-Palmer, even with the Rangers playing more than half the game with a large number of reserves.

The No. 1 Rangers scored twice in the first half, dominated possession and cruised to a 3-0 victory over No. 8 Steamboat Springs on Thursday at Lewis-Palmer in the Class 4A girls' soccer state quarterfinals.

Lewis-Palmer advances to take on No. 13 Mullen in Saturday's semifinal at Legacy Stadium.

"It's so exciting (to get back to the semifinals)," said Annica Fletemeyer, who opened the scoring. "I can't wait. It's going to be a good game."

Kate Devine dribbled around three Sailors before putting a perfect pass to Fletemeyer who blasted it home midway through the first half. Six minutes later it was Brianna Alger's turn, as the Rangers' leading scorer made two quick cuts to lose her defender before slotting home low to the far side to put the Rangers (17-1) up 2-0.

Devine mirrored her first-half run with another down the right hand side late in the second half, this time dishing past Steamboat's diving goalie and setting up freshman Ellie Crisler.

Devine has been working hard recently to improve her ball handling and distribution. It paid off.

"I definitely knew as I was going down I saw people and I heard people yelling for the ball," Devine said. "I was like, OK, I need to release it now and pass it off."

Lewis-Palmer co-coaches Joe Martin and Ryan Parsons were so comfortable with the Rangers' performance and two-goal lead, that with about 15 minutes left in the first half they began subbing starters against the Sailors (16-2) because of the quick turnaround for the semifinals.

"These girls have done everything we've asked of them," Parsons said.

Devine had another opinion on why the Rangers were so good regardless of who was on the field.

"I think everyone, every time they step on the field, they just work as hard as they can," she said. "That's why we can rotate everyone in and out because everyone is going to give 110 percent no matter what."

The Rangers defense held Steamboat to three shots. The first was the most dangerous, and a free kick late in the first half also threatened, but goalie Haley Arsenault was again equal to the task.

Other than that, the defense and the midfield prevented any serious chances for the Sailors.

"They play hard, they organize, our defense is just solid. So we just kind of relied on them today," Parsons said. "We've been relying on our offense some games, but today we relied on the defense, shut them down, no one hurt and we move on."

The Rangers are one win away from returning to the state title game. Last season they finished as runner-up.

"We just came out with the mentality that we needed to win this game because we really want to get to the state championship game," Fletemeyer said.