Steamboat Springs The road to the 4A state title will not get any easier as the Steamboat Springs boys soccer team prepares for a quarterfinals showdown with Broomfield slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday.
"They are a very good soccer team," Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said. "Their only losses are to the No. 1 5A school in the state, Horizon, and another very good team, Boulder."
The No. 3-ranked Eagles will be the favorite in the game based on seeding; however, the team's 13-2-2 overall record isn't that much better than Steamboat's mark for the season. Broomfield won the Skyline League with a perfect 6-0-0 record and will host the game.
Steamboat's season, however, has been equally as impressive. Steamboat posted a 13-3-1 record (the record does not include two forfeits that have not been factored into the standings) this season and are coming off of a huge 3-2 win over No. 6 Conifer on Friday at Englewood Memorial Field.
"The key for us is to steadily build a rhythm in practice and work on possessing the ball," Bohlmann said. "We are also going to have to get our numbers forward in the game and put pressure on their defense."
Steamboat is the lowest seed left in the tournament at No. 11. The top-5 seeds all survived the first round of play last weekend. Other games scheduled for this week will include No. 1 Liberty (16-0-1) and No. 9 Englewood (13-2-2); No. 4 Centaurus (13-2-2) will take on No. 5 Mullen (12-5-0); and No. 2 Lewis Palmer (16-0-1) will face No. 7 Pueblo East (16-1-0) in other state quarterfinals action. All of the games will be played today and Wednesday.
The winners will advance to the semifinals set for Saturday. The state championship game will be played on Tuesday, Nov. 7, in Denver.
Broomfield is led by two quick striking junior forwards, Thomas Flynn and Nick Diede. Diede has scored 16 goals and has 14 assists this season in just 16 games. Flynn has netted 15 goals and has nine assists in the same number of games. He netted three of the Eagles' four goals in Saturday's playoff game with Widefield.
"He is so fast," Sailors defensive captain J.J. Simon said. "The defensive players thought they were going to get the ball and he would come out of nowhere and steal it away. We are going to stay back on defense and work on getting to the ball fast."
The team is anchored defensively by goalkeeper Andy Day, who has recorded 42 saves this season, including four against Widefield in the first round of the state playoffs. He had seven saves in the Eagles' 3-0 win over CaCity in the regional playoff game.
Simon thinks the two teams will match up pretty evenly. But he thinks the team that controls the ball for the longest period of time will have the best shot at winning. Another key is going to be winning the 50-50 balls in the field, he said.
Steamboat entered the state playoff race against No. 6 Conifer on Friday and walked away with a 3-2 overtime win. Steamboat's Mike Rinn scored a goal and had two assists in the contest. Andrew Johnston scored the winning goal and Silas Cammer netted the opening goal of the game.
Sailor coach Rob Bohlmann felt as if the game was more about gaining respect than advancing forward in the state playoff picture. However, after the game, it was clear the Sailors had achieved both goals.
"It was a very good effort," Bohlmann said. "But it was primarily a blue-collar effort, and we won it based on hard work. I would like to see us play better positional soccer this week."
To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org