Steamboat boys lacrosse stumbles Saturday in conference showdown | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat boys lacrosse stumbles Saturday in conference showdown

Steamboat’s Jacob Gilbertson looks for a way around the Battle Mountain defense on Saturday.
Joel Reichenberger

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — There will be a long 48-hour wait for the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team before it discovers what Saturday will cost.

The Sailors were outhustled and outmuscled at home against Battle Mountain, losing 10-6 in a critical regular season game. The result dashes Steamboat’s hopes of winning the conference championship, instead locking the Huskies into that position. And, it will likely cost Steamboat in the seeding for the 16-team state tournament, as well. Just how much won’t be clear until the bracket is released Monday.

Steamboat scored first Saturday, but it was pretty soon obvious it was the Huskies who’d come to play. Sailors’ junior Jackson Lynch scored late in the first quarter to tie the game, 2-2, but Battle Mountain got a goal from Tucker Morrow moments later, then went on to score the next five goals, a 6-0 run that carried into the third quarter.

Steamboat struggled to win possession on faceoffs, but that wasn’t as critical as its defense held up well through portions of the game. Consistent turnovers that often kept the team from pushing the ball out of its own half of the field proved a far larger problem. The Huskies kept scoring while Steamboat was stumbling.

Battle won the previous meeting this season between the two teams only after the game went to triple overtime and Steamboat was hoping a better offensive performance could flip the result. It scored more, but still not enough.

“They were faster than us, especially in the transition game,” Steamboat coach Jay Lattimore said. “They looked like they had an extra gear on us today. Hopefully, we can work on it this week in practice.”

The Huskies finished with four goals from Jeremy Sforzo, who didn’t play in the first meeting. It also got four from Morrow and another decisive contribution from goalie Connor Underwood.

No save was tougher for Steamboat than one third-quarter save from Underwood. The Sailors worked through a long possession and finally found a look they wanted, junior Mac Moody streaking toward the goal with the ball.

He shot at point-blank range, but Underwood knocked it up in the air, then scooped it to pull it down.

It was that kind of afternoon for the Sailors. They were led by three goals from Lynch, but the rest of the offense struggled to get traction.

“They just have some big boys on defense,” Lattimore said. “We were hoping to make them run a little more than we did today, but they’re a good team. We’re a good team, too, and we’d definitely like to replay some of our mistakes.”

So, what’s the damage? Steamboat entered the game ranked No. 3 in the RPI standings and a win would likely have set the team in a top-four seed in the Class 4A state playoffs, meaning the Sailors would get to play at home in the first two rounds of the tournament.

Now, the team has dropped to No. 4 in those rankings while Battle Mountain jumped from No. 5 to No. 3. A committee will seed the tournament with the help of those RPI rankings and while Steamboat has likely slid out of a top-four spot, it’s a good bet to hang in the top eight and thus maintain a first-round home game.

The bracket will be announced Monday and then Steamboat, 11-4, will get a chance to make up for Saturday’s letdown.

“It will be interesting to see what happens. Losing to a 12-2 team really won’t hurt our RPI too much so it will come down to where the committee wants to put us,” Lattimore said. “We should still have enough for a home game in the first round, so we’re pretty happy about that.”

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


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.