Quality and quantity | SteamboatToday.com

Quality and quantity

Senior group to lead Sailors soccer in wide-open league

Moffat County's Tracy Mendoza
Brian Ray

— Assessing the competitive level of boys soccer this season in the Western Slope League, Battle Mountain High School head coach Dave Cope pointed to the fact that only two seniors from the all-league team will be back this year.

“It’s pretty wide open. It will be a battle,” Cope said.

It bodes well for the Sailors that honorable mention midfielder/forward David Comeau is one of those two all-league players returning to Steamboat’s squad. It also bodes well that in league ripe for new senior talent, Comeau is one of what head coach Rob Bohlmann calls a “core group of eight” seniors returning to Steamboat’s varsity team.

“We’re really tight,” said senior Nick Labor. “We had the Bombers club team, and we’ve been playing together for seven years since.”

Having graduated only four seniors, Bohlmann is looking to Labor and Comeau, what he considers his most “experienced and polished players,” to make an immediate impact.

“The last three years, we’ve had small senior squads,” Labor said. “This year, our team’s been playing with older guys, five of us on varsity, since we were sophomores. I’m pretty excited.”

In addition to this group of eight, Bohlmann noted the return of senior midfield “playmaker” Miguel Lomelli and senior Sam Houston, who he said, after taking a season away from soccer, was a pleasant surprise that has injected energy into the group.

Returning seven starters, Bohlmann plans to switch from a standard 4-4-2 formation to a 3-4-3, moving an additional forward up, that he thinks lends itself to a more direct, attack-oriented strategy that matches his players’ personalities.

Although Bohlmann said he has yet to finalize the 16-man varsity roster and will not know the starting line-up until the team’s season opener at 6 p.m. Thursday at Summit High School, he said he will look to stop the opponent’s attack and build the offense around Labor’s “tenacious” defense and solid midfield play from senior Kevin King.

“The biggest thing that we lacked was the day-to-day consistency, the mentality to give everything you can to develop a winning mentality,” Bohlmann said about the Sailors’ 2005 record, where they went 2-8-2 in league play. “We’re looking to set the tone right off the bat with the proper mentality and intensity for 80 minutes.”

Although Bohlmann picked Battle Mountain as the league’s dominant team, Cope said his 12-0 team that lost in the state 4A quarterfinals last year has lost nine of its starters and that no league games are guarantees this year.

“There’s no team we’ve struggled with between the 18s. : We’re going to fight and scrap for the postseason this year,” Bohlmann said, excited to prepare his group of veteran players to handle the competition.

– To reach Dave Shively, call 846-1129 or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com

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