‘Be great’: Steamboat boys lacrosse to focus on team chemistry in 2023

Steamboat Springs boys lacrosse will begin its season on the road against Summit on Tuesday, March 14, 2023. The Sailors have put an emphasis on unselfish play during the offseason and will look to come out strong to start the year.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

With an accomplished group of seniors who compete in multiple varsity sports, the Steamboat Springs boys lacrosse team has set its focus on playing for the team and being unselfish on the field.

“The expectation we’ve been setting with the guys is to be great,” head coach Brian Rogers said. “It’s a rallying cry, and what we mean by ‘be great’ is not necessarily be a great lacrosse player but be a great teammate, be a great student-athlete at Steamboat high school and be a great member of the community.”

Rogers said that once the players learn to play for each other instead of themselves, the team will win.

The Sailors have made it clear to their coach they intend to win the league and make a deep run in the playoffs. The team believes a final four appearance at state is realistic this spring. 

The Sailors have only practiced together as a unit a handful of times this season with several athletes coming from the high school’s hockey and basketball teams that recently closed out their seasons. 

Andrew Kempers finished his senior hockey season with a run to the final four in the state tournament on Saturday, March 4. Just a couple days later, he was holding a lacrosse stick, preparing for the spring season.

Kempers said that despite being in shape from the hockey season, lacrosse is a different animal and it’s a big change to catch up on all the cardio training Rogers has in store for the team. 

Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team now-senior Andrew Kempers uses his size to intimidate a Gore Ranger during a game against Vail Mountain on April 7, 2022. Kempers is excited for his senior season and says the team is tighter than ever before.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Kempers said that cardio training has helped keep the pace of play fast during practices and bodes well for the start of the season. He added that the team is extremely excited to get the year started.

“What’s different about this team is we are bonded really well,” Kempers said. “Coach Brian does a great job of inflicting that he wants to have a good culture and ensuring everyone feels part of the team.”

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The Sailors open the season on Tuesday, March 14, on the road against Summit. 

Last season, Steamboat split its two games with Summit, which ran a zone during the year. Rogers said it can be tricky to adjust to a team running zone this early in the season, so the plan is to create early scoring chances and stay sharp on transitions. 

He said the most important game is the first one. It all comes down to team chemistry and the players’ willingness to be great. 

“It’s something winning teams have and talented teams might not have,” Rogers said. “I want to win so I’d rather be a winning team than a talented team.”

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