Steamboat Springs Rob Bohlmann wanted to make the goals at Dudley Field look cavernous, so he sent his Steamboat Springs soccer team to Memorial Park Saturday morning.
"Those goals are like this big," said senior Mike Holland, making a tiny box shape to resemble Memorial Park's goals. "His logic was, if we could score on those we could score on these."
It worked, as the Sailors found their offensive rhythm to the tune of two first-half goals in a 2-1 defeat over Rifle Saturday at Dudley Field.
"The biggest thing we were looking for in transitions and when we have the ball was getting everyone involved in the attack and seizing opportunities when they arise," Bohlmann said. "We saw that (Saturday)."
Bohlmann said the first half of Steamboat's game was the best 40 minutes of soccer he's seen from his team this year.
The Sailors created good spacing on the field and found people in the box, which ultimately led to both goals.
The second of two scores, which proved to be the game-winner, came with five minutes left in the first half. Holland took a pass from senior Kyle Nelson just outside the box and drilled it into the left side of the net. A series of quick passes inside the box set up the shot outside.
Bohlmann previously has said he's looking for finishers. Holland stepped up Saturday, but he was quick to note the lack of individual stardom which separates this Sailors team from others.
"We score as a team," Holland said.
Nothing displayed that more than Steamboat's first goal of the game around the 15:00-mark of the first half.
Rifle's inability to clear after a Sailors corner kick gave senior Gunnar Sorensen the ball and a window to hit 6-foot-3 teammate Devin Borvansky in the box.
Sorensen fired the ball in from the left side, and Borvansky headed it past the Bears goalie.
"He's got that head and you can't miss it," Sorensen said.
Borvansky just smiled.
Bohlmann said occasionally he coaches a kid blessed with both height and the wherewithal to use it. It's an undeniable advantage for Steamboat to have Borvansky in the box as often as possible.
"We have to make the most of it," Bohlmann said.
The Sailors needed both goals, as Rifle came out in the second half more organized and aggressive, scoring within the first five minutes of the half to cut the lead to 2-1. The Bears' Jorge Alvardo kicked a rebound off a Kelly Carlson save into the net.
"Jorge is a very creative player," Rifle coach Tom Taucher said. "He holds the ball well."
But Taucher said he was disappointed in the way his team opened, saying it was the worst Rifle has looked all year and the team made it hard on itself to come back and try to win.
"We were flat and uninterested," Taucher said. "We haven't given up two soft goals all year."
The win moves Steamboat's record to 2-0 in league play and 4-3 overall. The Sailors' next game is at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Glenwood Springs.