Sailors looking for revenge in Aspen
May 9, 2017
Steamboat Springs — On one hand, the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team already got the chance to play Aspen once, and the Sailors lost.
It was close, sure, after a furious rally erased a big lead Aspen had built. The game was tied into the waning seconds, but the Skiers struck last, scoring with a deflected shot to pull out an 8-7 win.
On the other hand, it's a team the Sailors are at very least familiar with, one they battled to the final seconds of a game, and one they're confident that, given a second chance, they have a fair shot at beating.
They'll get that second shot at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Aspen as the ski-town rivals are matched up in the first-round of the Class 4A state championship playoffs.
Aspen earned the right to play host for the game as the No. 7 seed. Steamboat's the No. 10 seed.
"Obviously, we wish we could have been seeded higher but to come in and play a team we're familiar with, a team we have a lot of confidence in beating, that's a good place to be," Sailors coach Jay Lattimore said.
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The team's confidence hinges on its inexperience or what was inexperience in the first game of the season, when Aspen and Steamboat first met.
"I just remember seeing a lot of unexperienced players out there, looking at me like 'this is fun,'" Lattimore said.
Those players now have a full season under their belts.
Of course, so do the Aspen players. Each team has a similar roster makeup, Aspen with five seniors and 11 juniors and Steamboat with six seniors and 12 juniors.
Both are statistically led by underclassmen. Aspen's enjoyed a more diverse offensive attack with five players — all sophomores or juniors — with 10 goals or more. Jordan Hornburg, a junior, leads the way with 31.
Steamboat, meanwhile, has three scorers with 10 or more, and more than 40 percent of its scoring has come from one stick, junior Davis Peterson. His 50 goals rank him fourth in the entire state regardless of class and second in Class 4A.
It's worth noting Peterson missed Steamboat's last game, though it was a game in which the Sailors played some of their best lacrosse, beating Vail Mountain, the tournament's No. 4 seed.
"That was special for us because it showed our team we could still win," Lattimore said. "It showed us we need the whole team to compete, for everyone to come to play well for us to have a chance."
Peterson has been in practice this week.
Steamboat enters the game 8-7, having lost five of those games by just one goal each.
Lattimore's hoping those close losses — all against teams in the 16-team playoff bracket — helped season his squad. He's hoping they offered lessons the team can now take advantage of, and he's hoping that learning process started that first week against Aspen. It was a game the Sailors lost but now they're hoping to turn the table when it matters the most.
"We're hoping people will just look at our record and not at the battles we've actually had," Lattimore said. "We had the third-hardest schedule in the state. I don't think anyone was expecting us to play some of those teams so close, but that's what built confidence for us.
"We have a chance to go back against a team and to show them who we really are, and we're really exciting to do that."
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