Steamboat Springs When the Steamboat Springs soccer team steps onto Dudley Field for its regional playoff game against Brighton High School today, the Sailors will be the more rested team, visiting coach Eric Maier believes.
His Bulldogs, who made the four-hour trip from Brighton to Steamboat on Friday, play the Sailors at 11 a.m. at Dudley Field.
"We're going to be sleeping in hotel beds tonight," Maier said on Friday. "Your guys are going to be comfortable in your own beds."
Brighton, which is 6-8 and 2-4, cannot afford to be lethargic today against Steamboat. The 10-4-1 and 7-3 Sailors were on a roll at the end of the regular season as they won seven consecutive games.
Jason Flower, who scored nine goals this year for the Sailors, didn't put much stock into Maier's comment.
The Hayden Tigers host the Grand Valley Cardinals in football. Game starts at 1 p.m. The Steamboat Springs volleyball team plays at Battle Mtn. at 6 p.m. Steamboat's football team plays Montezuma-Cortez at 1:30 p.m. at Palisade. Score updates on AM 1230. The Sailors cross country teams will be in Delta for regionals. The meet begins at 1 p.m.
"I don't care really what he thinks," Flower said. "I don't think we have an edge. I think we're just ready to play."
Maier, who was somewhat joking about the possible lack of sleep, said the regional game would be a great opportunity for his team.
"I think once the adrenaline kicks in, we'll be ready to go," he said.
Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann, who was informed Wednesday whom his team would face in the playoffs, admitted he is unfamiliar with the Bulldogs.
Maier likely has the same problem with the Sailors. Steamboat, which is in first place in the 4A Western Slope Conference, hasn't faced Brighton this year. The Bulldogs are the No. 4 team from the 4A Skyline Conference.
The teams might not know much of one another, but they do boast a common opponent.
The Centaurus Warriors, who are in first in the Skyline Conference, tied the Sailors 1-1 at Dudley Field on Sept. 9. The Warriors recently defeated the Bulldogs 2-0.
In the Steamboat-Centaurus game, Sailor Mike Rinn saw one of his goals negated in the second half during a penalty kick. The Warriors' goalie was offsides, and the official blew the play dead before Rinn's goal went in the net. The second attempt failed, which ended up costly for the Sailors. The initial score would have given the Sailors the win.
Rinn, who has 19 goals this season, also has four assists. Flower has six assists on the year coupled with nine goals. Sailors keeper Andrew Litzau has 104 saves and three shutouts in 890 minutes played. He allowed 11 goals in 15 games.
Kyle Nelson finished the regular-season as Steamboat's assist leader with seven, and Jason Sirois knocked in five goals and added four assists.
The Bulldogs are led by team captain and midfielder Ryan Kremheller, along with stopper Derek Baechler and keeper Cody Brackelsberg.
The Sailors, who defeated the Rifle Bears 2-0 on Oct. 14, should be well rested by today, Bohlmann said.
"It's nice to have had the whole week to train," the coach said. "At this point in the season, being fresh is just as important as being fit."
If the Sailors win today, they will qualify themselves for the state playoffs which begin Oct. 26.
"We're just looking forward to playing (Brighton)," Flower said. "We're playing the best soccer we played all year so far. We're coming off two solid shutouts right now, and we're really counting on a win."