The last thing the Steamboat Springs High School boys soccer team wanted in its home opener against Delta County was a replay of last week's heartbreaking loss to Moffat County.
"We knew that things were good for us," Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. "We just wanted to make sure we came back and had a positive result to let everyone know that our opening tournament wasn't a fluke. The loss to Moffat was just a bump in the road for us."
So after wrapping up the first 40 minutes of play at Dudley Field, tied at one goal apiece with the Eagles, the Sailors decided it was time to put their game into high gear. It worked as Steamboat cruised to a 3-1 win and its first conference win of the season.
"I think we definitely picked it up in the second half," senior Daniel Barney said. "After Craig last week, we didn't want to look at another loss. ... We were looking for the win early in the second half."
Steamboat added to Michael Litzau's first-half goal less than five minutes into the second half when Dustin Atkinson picked up a loose ball in front of the net and pounded it past Eagle goalkeeper Tyler Anderson.
After the score, the Steamboat offense used short passes to pick apart Delta County's defensive front. Barney helped put the game away 10 minutes into the half when he split the defense with a perfectly placed pass to a streaking Harry Packer, who scored.
"I think when they scored in the first half it brought us back down a little bit. We had to take our shots and get back into the game," Barney said. "It definitely makes you focus a little more when you're tied instead of up 1-0."
Delta County's only highlight came in the first half when Aaron Gogenola beat the Steamboat goalkeeper with a perfectly placed shot from 18 yards away.
"I thought about taking it in (closer), but I knew the guy was coming. I just took the shot instead," Gogenola said. "It worked out for us."
But the Delta County player said his team lost momentum in the second half as Steamboat's offense controlled the ball and piled up the shots on the Eagles' goalkeeper.
"We've always had a little bit of trouble keeping it up in the second half. It seems like we get a little too relaxed and lose focus," Gogenola said.
Delta County is new to the Western Slopes 4A conference. Last year, the Eagles (1-2) played in the 3A conference. Delta County beat Palisade last week 4-3 in its only other conference game.
Steamboat is now 4-1 overall and 1-1 in conference play. Steamboat will face Rifle at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Dudley Field.
"It looks to be a pretty good match," Bohlmann said. "They are undefeated in the league and beat Glenwood last week."