The Steamboat Springs soccer team will take the next step toward a state title when it travels to Mullen to take on the playoff-proven Mustangs.
Mullen coach Jay McClain said he has seen the Sailors' record and expects a very competitive playoff game.
"I've seen the teams they have played this year, and we have total respect for their program," McClain said. "It should be a great game."
The contest will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday, but the location is undecided. McClain said he wanted the game to be played at one of two new fields the high school recently built. Unfortunately, the sod was just laid six weeks ago, and the fields may not be ready for play, he said.
If the school decides the sod is not ready, the game will be played at the Fort Logan Soccer Complex, which is located at Lowell and Oxford, just a few blocks from Mullen High School, 3601 S. Lowell Blvd.
Steamboat is seeded 13th heading into the game with a 13-3 overall record. The Sailors are coming off a huge 2-1 win over Greeley Central in the regional playoff game Thursday at Dudley Field. The win put the team into the state's sweet 16.
Mullen is the No. 4 seed in the tournament and will come into the game with an 11-4-1 record in the Centennial League.
Last year, the Mustangs lost to Lewis Palmer in a state quarterfinal game played in snow and cold. The Mustangs have advanced to the quarterfinals twice and the semifinals once in the past three seasons. This is McClain's fourth year as head coach.
Brian Sheehan and Aaron Mejia and nine other senior players lead the Mustangs. McClain said the team stresses defense; the Mustangs didn't give up a goal en route to downing Northridge 4-0 in the regional playoff game last week. Northridge went into the game with a 7-7-2 record.
Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann and his players said they know almost nothing about the Mullen squad except that it's the next opponent they will face along the state playoff road.
"They beat Rifle 5-0 early in the season, so I think they are going to be pretty tough," Steamboat's Daniel Barney said.
Steamboat is one of three Western Slope teams still alive after the first round of the state playoffs, which began last week.
Rifle beat Skyview 3-0 and will advance to face Pueblo Centennial on Friday in Pueblo. Battle Mountain defeated CaÃ±on City 5-1 and will travel to Colorado Springs on Thursday to take on Liberty, the No. 1-seeded 4A team.
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