Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs soccer team will travel to the Front Range today to play the Conifer Lobos in the first round of the state playoffs.
The Lobos of Jefferson County have a 13-2-1 record and that about sums up the information the Sailors have on their next opponent, which wasn't identified until Thursday.
"We don't know much about Conifer," Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said.
No matter. Bohlmann is convinced that if his team plays up to its potential, the Sailors can run with any team.
"We just need to make sure that we step out and play solid soccer," he said.
The Sailors advanced to the first round of the state playoffs after rolling past Brighton 8-0 in the regional playoffs on Saturday at Dudley Field. Steamboat, the top seed in the Western Slope Conference, secured the win with six goals in the first half against the No. 4 team from the Skyline Conference. It only took Mike Rinn 10 seconds to net his first goal of the game. Rinn netted another goal about five minutes later.
Jason Sirois collected the first of three assists on the day, Sirois netted his own goal about six minutes later, making the score 3-0. Ben Beall increased the lead to 4-0 a few minutes later and Rinn netted two more goals in the closing minutes of the first half to make the advantage 6-0.
Steamboat goalkeeper Andrew Litzau, who has tallied 104 saves this season, enjoyed a quiet day as Brighton failed to fire a shot on goal in the first half. Most of the Steamboat Springs starters were on the bench in the second half.
But the scoring didn't stop.
Jonathan Olinger and Zach Murphy both scored to make the final tally 8-0. Second-string goalkeeper Chris Gibson stepped in front of the net in the second half and stopped three Brighton shots.
Steamboat also won the regional title last year before being knocked out by Dakota Ridge.
This season, Steamboat captain J.J. Simon thinks the Sailors are stronger and better prepared to make a state title run.
"This is a special season for us," Simon said. "We've been preparing for this moment for more than a year, and we are very united as a team."
Following Saturday's regional win, the Steamboat players were already looking forward to the first round of the state playoffs.
Only 16 teams will advance to this weekend's rounds.
The first-round winners will move on to the state quarterfinals, which will be played Nov. 1, and the semifinals are set for Nov. 4.
The finals will be on Nov. 7 in Denver.