Steamboat Springs Kelly Labor is a natural forward but spent a majority of early season games playing in Steamboat's backfield.
Labor took advantage of her first start of the season up top, scoring three first-half goals to lift the Sailors to a 5-0 victory over the Rifle Bears at Woodbury Field in Craig.
Steamboat improved to 9-0 overall and 9-0 in the league with the victory, distancing itself from Rifle in the standings.
Glenwood Springs, the team Steamboat defeated 2-1 on April 10, figures to be the Sailors' only threat for the league title later. The two meet again April 26.
Rifle coach Tom Taucher admitted he had a plan coming into Saturday's game against Steamboat.
After falling to the Sailors 6-1 on April 3, the Bears adjusted their lineup. Rifle tied Glenwood 1-1 with the new scheme, giving Taucher some confidence that the Bears might match up better with the Sailors the second time around.
"They are the top of the league," Taucher said. "Everyone is so good. I wasn't worried about the pace, but their finishing and skill is top-notch."
Strategically, Rifle wanted a scoreless game at the half so that it could try to sneak in a goal at some point in the second for a 1-0 win.
Steamboat had other plans, scoring just 10 minutes into the first half off Allison Hall's crossing pass to Labor.
The two paired up again 4 minutes later for the game's second goal, prompting Taucher to replace starting goalie Megan Burner with Lindsey Railsback.
"Our keeper didn't have much of a chance on either shot, but I thought bringing Lindsey in would give the team a spark," Taucher said.
Near the 15-minute mark, Sailor Haley Gallagher delivered a pass over both the defenders and mid-fielders to hit a streaking Labor on her run toward the goal.
She beat everyone to the ball and fired a quick shot to Railsback's left side.
"Before I receive the ball, I take a quick glance at goal and hope it's where I saw it last time," Labor said.
Nearly 27 minutes into the first half, senior Nikki Garth scored her first goal of the game, a high shot from the top of the box over a leaping Railsback.
Rifle's best shot of the day came 9 minutes into the second half on a shot from the right side of the box. Steamboat goalie Kirsten Ryan snared the ball and secured her eighth shutout of the season.
Four minutes later, Garth followed the Bears' best shot with a spinning laser from about 30 yards out to conclude the Sailors' scoring.
What might be as impressive as Steamboat's ability to find the back of the net -- it has scored 54 goals in nine games -- is its ability to maintain a focus for 80 minutes. It has surrendered just two goals all year.
Western Slope teams are having a hard time stopping the Sailors, while Steamboat is doing a remarkable job of not stopping itself either.
Assistant coach Danny Tebbenkamp isn't worried about Steamboat becoming overconfident, because the team takes a strong mental approach to every game.
"They strive for excellence," he said. "They don't take anything for granted. It's pretty much self-imposed. We have to remind them every once in a while, but it's a strong group of girls."
Steamboat hopes to remain undefeated when it heads to Littleton on Monday for the first Front Range game of the season.
The Lions are traditionally a strong 5A school, and the Sailors want to play well to garner some attention from the seeding committee as the postseason approaches.
"We've been looking for a great challenge, and Glenwood gave us one," Labor said. "But this is to prove it to the state."