Steamboat sails by Eagle Valley
Steamboat Springs — Maybe there isn’t anything better for a coach than the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team’s season opener, a 14-2 win against Eagle Valley.
The Sailors looked sharp for much of the game, dominated through for a stretch through the middle of the game and came away with a comfortable win and a 1-0 record.
Still, Steamboat coach Jay Lattimore said he was left with no shortage of things to critque his team about as it prepares for a huge early season test on Tuesday at home against Valor Christian.
“We saw that we still have a lot to work on in practice,” Lattimore said. “We’ve been practicing for weeks, and we run out of things to go over in practice, so a game like this is good to show us that we still have to work hard.”
The Sailors got two first-quarter goals, then opened the flood gates in the second and third quarters, building a 13-0 lead.
Andrew Firestone tallied a hat trick, three goals, while Willy Gunn had two goals and three assists. Spencer Petersen and Tait Dixson each scored two goals, while Jackson Draper, Drew Williamson, Sam Rossman, Joe DeLine and Antonio Ranieri each scored, as well.
The Sailors moved the ball down the field well, time after time exploiting a fast break with a quick pass to the front of the net and an ensuing goal.
“There was no selfish play out there. If you have the opportunity, take it, and we were all taking it,” Firestone said. “We’ve been practicing really hard, and that came through in the game.”
For its part, Eagle Valley struggled to possess the ball and generate any consistent offense. Steamboat poached passes and whacked the free away on a regular basis.
The Devils put together their best play in the fourth quarter, when they scored both of their goals. Junior Jared Salaz scored first, then Ryan Monica got on the board, as well, sliding one in from 10 yards out.
It wasn’t nearly enough to threaten Steamboat, but it was a sign of progress in the eyes of coach Bobby Ecker.
“That’s always hard, but I’m proud of our guys. We played to the final whistle. That says something about our team,” Ecker said. “Their stick skills were better than ours. Ground balls were another thing. They outworked us in ground balls. That’s a good way to lose a game.”
Eagle Valley slipped to 2-2 with the loss. The team is back in action on the road Monday at Battle Mountain, 2-0.
Steamboat, meanwhile, will spend its weekend trying to sharpen up for it’s Tuesday date with Valor, a team with which the Sailors have developed a nasty little rivalry in recent years.
Valor beat the Sailors in Steamboat two years ago with a wild come-from-behind effort. Last year, the Eagles again beat Steamboat in the regular season, this time in overtime.
The Sailors got the last laugh, however, beating Valor 14-8 in the playoffs to advance to the state semifinals.
Steamboat was ranked fourth by CHSAANow.com in its preseason pole. Valor was ranked third.
“They’re ranked. They’re high up in this division, and we want to play the best we can,” Lattimore said. “Win or lose, it’s not going to hurt our momentum going into the season, but we all want to win.”
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