Sailors slip in regular season finale | SteamboatToday.com

Sailors slip in regular season finale

Steamboat senior Tait Dixson looks into the teeth of the Douglas County defense Saturday. The Sailors scored six-consecutive goals to take the lead in the third quarter, but couldn't hang on in the fourth, losing 11-9.

— It was down, up and, finally, down Saturday.

The Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team is hoping it can find one more up as it heads into the Class 4A state playoffs, the seeding of which will be announced Sunday.

The team will head into that 16-team tournament coming off a loss. Steamboat rallied from a dismal first half, but couldn't hold off Class 5A's Douglas County. The Huskies won, 11-9.

"Obviously, a loss isn't how any of us wanted to end the regular season, especially on senior night," senior Drew Williamson said, "but I think we're ready to go, and we can't wait to get after it next week."

The Sailors are hoping their season of work earned them a top-eight seed and a home game in the first round of the playoffs.

It's understandable they'd rather Saturday's game not be their final in front of the home fans. The team was out of sorts in the first half and struggled mightily to maintain possession. Bad passes, mishandled balls, fouls and penalties combined to end many opportunities.

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A stellar game in goal from Douglas County's Denton Skelton, meanwhile, kept most other possessions to one shot.

The Sailors trailed 3-1 early and 8-3 at the half.

"Sometimes, we don't come out as strong as we'd like to. It just took us a little bit," Steamboat coach Jay Lattimore said. "Their goalie was standing on his head today. He definitely won the game for them."

Momentum changed in a big way in the third quarter, as the Sailors scored five consecutive goals to take a 9-8 lead.

Steamboat had gotten two goals from Joe Borgerding in the first half and one from Chris Kaminski.

In the second, Jackson Draper had the first two scores. Williamson had two more, and Davis Peterson scored once.

"We came out a little slow, but we definitely brought our game in the second half, and we showed who Steamboat lacrosse is," Williamson said.

Steamboat couldn't stay atop the game into the fourth quarter, however.

One of those first-half turnovers came after the Sailors called a timeout officials said they didn't have.

That wasn’t to be the last run-in with the officiating crew, either.

Steamboat drew back-to-back penalties midway through the fourth quarter, the first for a slash and the second for what an official termed mouthing off.

Later, Douglas County coach Jared McNichol grew so frustrated he launched a lacrosse stick onto the field toward an official, insisting he had been trying for several minutes to call a timeout.

The Sailors had another timeout issue moments later. 
Douglas County tried to call a timeout following a huge Skelton save with just under two minutes remaining. In the time between the request and the actual whistle, the Sailors had forced a turnover and scored a goal, one which was eventually waved off.

They could have used it, as it would have been their only score in the fourth quarter.

The Huskies got three goals from Mike Blais to tie the game, take the lead, then pad the score.

"We played good, team ball in the first quarter and rallied behind one another," Lattimore said. "The energy we had, you can't stop that. Unfortuantely, it faded away in the fourth."

The Sailors, who wrapped up third place in the Mountain League by defeating Fruita Monument on Friday, are hoping Saturday's hiccup will have minimal effect on Sunday's seeding. Douglas County didn't come in with a good record — 4-10 — but the team did play in one of the toughest leagues in the state and came down from Class 5A for the game.

Steamboat, 10-5, will play its first tournament game Tuesday.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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