Steamboat defense hangs tough against talented Vail Mountain team |

Steamboat defense hangs tough against talented Vail Mountain team

Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team defender Jeff Hubler keeps pressure on a Gore Rangers player during a game against Vail Mountain on Thursday, April 7, 2022, in Steamboat.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

For the opening moments of its game against Vail Mountain, the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team’s defense was exceptional. Every Sailor stayed in front of their assigned Gore Ranger player, forcing the visiting team to pass for more than four minutes.

Watching the defenders’ footwork was impressive, as they sidestepped and spun to keep themselves between Vail players and the goal.

The Gore Rangers eventually scored, but keeping goals to four or more minutes apart would mean Steamboat could have a solid shot of beating the No. 5 team in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s RPI standings.

Unfortunately, that level of defensive excellence was hard to maintain for the Sailors, who fell 15-4 on Thursday, April 7.

“You get tired after a while, obviously,” said junior Jeff Hubler. “It’s hard to stay on top of everybody when they’re moving that fast and they can just keep on going. They had great longevity. They played hard throughout the whole game. It’s hard to keep up with.”

Steamboat is 3-6 overall and 1-4 against league opponents. The Sailors have also lost four straight and, next up, face No. 7 Cheyenne Mountain at home on Saturday, April 9.

“I think we just got to believe,” said sophomore Brady Adams. “We got to keep working hard and keep being competitive each game and in practice, working hard especially, and trying to get better each game and each day.”

Hubler said improvements are clear each game, even if they were a little harder to see in the loss on Thursday.

Vail’s offense was relentless. The visiting team scored four straight goals to start the game before Steamboat junior Andrew Kempers scored seconds after the faceoff. Senior Kellen Adams put another goal on the board with 27 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Gore Rangers led 6-2 after one quarter.

“They’re all very athletic and very fast as well,” said Brady Adams. “They all had great shots. It was really tough to defend, but we’ll definitely improve and move on.”

The Steamboat defense cracked down, allowing three goals in the second and three more in the third. However, the offense couldn’t score.

Just about everyone put up at least one shot, but they usually went wide. Turns out, the Gore Rangers aren’t just an offensive team, but are great on defense as well, as they pressured the Sailors on every attempt.

Steamboat senior Shea Pepin finally broke through late in the third, but the Sailors still faced a large deficit.

With one quarter left to play, Vail Mountain led 12-3. The Gore Rangers scored three more in the fourth, and with 50 seconds left, Sailors junior Jacob Dodson scored to make if 15-4.

Vail Mountain 15, Steamboat Springs 4

VM 6 3 3 3 – 15

SS 2 0 1 1 – 4

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