Steamboat Springs A pair of Steamboat Springs soccer teams traveled to Grand Junction last weekend to take part in the Grand Mesa Indoor soccer tournament.
"It's not something we do every week, but we will go to a couple of tournaments each year," U-14 girls coach Rick Garth said.
The local highlight came when a group of high school girls coached by Danny Tebbenkamp won the 15-and-over age division.
"This is the first year we've gone down to this tournament," Tebbenkamp said. "I don't know that we played the strongest competition, but I'm proud of the way our team played and it was nice to come out on top."
Steamboat's other representative finished second in the U-14 girls age division.
The 15-year-old squad went undefeated in pool play and then defeated Vail in the championship match by a score of 3-2. The local team did not have a goalkeeper on the roster, so each of the eight members on the team took their turns between the goal posts. All of the players were core members of the Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team, and Tebbenkamp felt it was a good experience for the players. There were four teams in the 15-and-over division.
The other Steamboat team, a U-13 squad, elected to play up a division in the U-14 group, which consisted of of five teams. The local squad lost its first contest in a 6-4 contest with one of several of Grand Junction's premier teams in the division.
But the local girls rebounded with three straight wins to take second place in the tournament. The Steamboat team outscored its opponents, two from Grand Junction and another from Carbondale, in the three-game run, 16-5.
Garth credited keeper Sarah MacCarthy for sparking the team's winning streak. But MacCarthy's efforts were not just defensive; she had three assists on three of her team's goals.
Garth said the tournament was unique because it used a hockey-style format where the game clock ran for the entire 35 minutes of the contest. Teams were forced to make substitutions on the fly and players were put in a penalty box for rule infractions. Five players, including the goalie, played at one time. Penalties resulted in short-handed situations.
"It was a lot different than most of the indoor tournaments we go to, but it was a lot of fun," Garth said.
The coach is planning on taking another group of players to Boulder this weekend for another indoor tournament.