Steamboat Springs When the Centaurus High School soccer team visits Steamboat Springs today, it won't be competing in a soccer match.
The Warriors instead will be heading to the high school to feast on a potluck dinner, where members of the Sailors soccer team will be waiting for them.
The two teams have a dinner tradition that began two years ago in Steamboat. Each year, the home team's high school prepares a pasta dinner, salads and breads for both teams.
The feast marks the eve of the Sailors-Warriors game, which is set to kick off this season at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Dudley Field.
"It's just something that is kind of a neat thing that we do, and they do for us," Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said. "It's a good thing."
Warriors coach Ken Ebersole said the tradition has been well-received by players and parents from both teams.
"I think it's great," Ebersole said. "It's so much easier to come and stay overnight and have the other team and its parents feeding us. It's great getting a free meal."
The meal certainly marks a fun time for both squads, but the teams' players will have to work off the feast in a hurry. Ebersole expects Satur-day's match to be fast-paced and hard-fought.
"It's going to be a very physical game," said Ebersole, whose 3-0 Warriors will be looking for their fourth consecutive win.
Centaurus opened its season with wins over Cheyenne Mountain High School, Evergreen High School and Rampart High School at a tournament in Colorado Springs.
The undefeated Warriors return three starters from last year's team. Ebersole said a number of junior varsity players have moved up to replace the 14 seniors who graduated from the school last season.
Bohlmann returns seven of his starters from 1999 and said a key for the game is to create more scoring opportunities than in previous matches. The Sailors are 2-1, with wins over Kent Denver School and Monarch High School in the Alexander Dawson tourney in Boulder last weekend. The team lost 1-0 to Faith Christian High School in the finals.
Bohlmann expects a competitive match Saturday.
"We've lost in a pretty tight battle both years, so we're hoping we can come away with a winning result this year," Bohlmann said. "We're looking that we can hopefully go in and get a lot out of it, as far as developing as a group and playing well in a competitive match."
Players who had key performances in the Alexander Dawson tourney were Mike Rinn, J.J. Jenny and Kyle Nelson.
For the Warriors, Mike Kelly returns his experience at the goalie position, and Steve Bienemann returns as the team's sweeper.
Bohlmann agrees with Ebersole that the game will run high-tempo.
"They've been a fairly athletic, fairly strong group," said Bohlmann about the Warriors. "Defensively, they'll be very solid. It will definitely be a fast-paced game."
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