Sailors lacrosse snuffs out Lightning |

Sailors lacrosse snuffs out Lightning

Rout puts Steamboat on verge of undefeated season

Luke Graham

— Steamboat Springs High School senior lacrosse player Jasper Gantick never envisioned the scenario that has played out this season.

As a freshman, every opponent intimidated Gantick. But in his sophomore year, he realized he could hold his own, and by the time his junior year rolled around, he thought the Sailors could beat some teams and be on the right end of games more often than the wrong end.

But with Wednesday’s 12-1 win against the Grand Valley Lightning and a forfeit win against Durango, Gantick and his teammates are in line to achieve something many thought wouldn’t be possible four years ago: an undefeated regular season.

“I never envisioned a mountain lacrosse conference,” Gantick said after Senior Day at Gardner Field. “Undefeated? I certainly never saw that coming.”

Although the work isn’t done yet – Steamboat concludes the regular season at 4 p.m. today in Eagle Valley, a team it beat, 15-1, earlier this season – the full spectrum of how far the program and five seniors have come was on full display Wednesday.

Playing their fourth game in five days – against a quality opponent, to boot – the Sailors played their most complete game of the year.

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Steamboat (13-0 overall) jumped up, 3-0, early in the first quarter on goals from Brian Bertrand, Gus Worden and Jack Spady. The team took a 5-0 lead midway through the second on two Garret Ehrick goals, but unlike most of the season, the team found it tough to get going in the offensive zone.

But even after Grand Valley’s Johnny Hall cut the lead to 5-1 late in the first half, a heavy-legged Steamboat team showed it could still play a high level of lacrosse.

The Sailors squashed any chance of a comeback with four unanswered goals in the third quarter, to go up, 9-1, in the final frame. John Wharton, Grant McCannon and Ehrick added late goals in the fourth to complete the rout.

“It’s one of our most complete games,” Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. “The score doesn’t indicate their level of play. It wasn’t like we kept our offense on the field all day.”

The win and the season has been especially significant to the team’s five seniors – Worden, Weston Kim, Gantick, Chase Grippa and Kevin Stokes. Hiester said the five have been on the wrong end of losses like – and much worse than – Wednesday’s. For them to perform like they have this season, Hiester said, shows their mettle.

“I remember getting beaten bad every game,” Worden said about his freshman year. “I remember not being able to compete with the Denver teams because we didn’t have a field. I remember the first game we played because we hadn’t been outside. : But I still had the vision we could compete.”

Steamboat will get its chance to show how far the program really has come. After today’s game with Eagle Valley, Steamboat will prepare for the playoffs. Because Steamboat won its conference, the team should be assured a top-16 seed and a home playoff game in the first round.