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Old meets new

Soccer team will rely on chemistry between

— The Steamboat Springs girls soccer team opened its 2003 season with a 3-0 win over Moffat County Saturday in Craig. The Sailors are one of several teams that consistently competes for a Western Slope league title. But the outcome of this season rests on the ability of the team’s veterans to get used to playing with the rookies. Many are teammates for the first time.

“We have some returning varsity players that saw significant playing time last year,” coach Rob Bohlmann said. “We have some players on varsity with some exposure, and then obviously the freshmen group without any experience at all. The most important thing is that we settle in and play quality, simple soccer.”

Senior Nikki Garth believes the potential is there for the Sailors to have a successful season. As one of the veterans, she figures to be a leader for Steamboat this spring. She has already committed to play soccer at the University of California at Riverside next fall.



“Everyone’s really excited about the season,” Garth said. “I think the biggest thing is the age difference between members of our team and getting used to playing with each other. We’re starting to get it.”

Several of the Sailors varsity members started soccer practice late, as they concluded their respective winter sports. Unfortunately, the spring schedules don’t wait for winter to wrap up.



Consequently, Bohlmann said, it’s imperative that Steamboat gel and develop chemistry on the field with some urgency. The league season is already under way and an important trip to the Front Range is scheduled for next weekend.

Assisting Bohlmann this season are Danny Tebbenkamp and Stephanie Hughes. All three, Garth said, work well with each other and the team.

Bohlmann has been in the soccer coaching circle for years, but he will have a unique task ahead of him this season. Though it is more common for female

underclassmen to suit up at the varsity level due to quicker physical maturation, the Sailors have a larger number of freshmen out than in years past. And balancing differences between freshmen and seniors goes beyond simple game strategies.

As the starting goalie, Kirsten Ryan is one freshman Steamboat will look to early on. She is a newcomer from California and is still adapting to playing with everyone on the team, including her classmates.

Even though Ryan is a varsity player, Ryan counts on the Sailors’ veterans for leadership. “They are role models,” she said.

Due to the large amount of snow that consistently falls in Steamboat, the Sailors’ outside practice time has been limited. Preseason scrimmages in Greeley, Denver and Grand Junction, however, have the Sailors ahead of last year’s pace, Bohlmann said.

A 3-0 win over Moffat County Saturday is just what Steamboat wanted to start the season.

“I thought their effort, work rate and intensity were good for the first game,” Bohlmann said.

Steamboat returns to league play March 28 against Palisade, but its first home contest isn’t until April 4 against Cedaredge.


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