Steamboat Springs High School senior Devin Borvansky still hasn't forgotten what happened earlier this month when the Sailor soccer squad traveled to Craig and was upset by the Moffat County Bulldogs.
For the past 25 days, the memory of that 2-1 game has burned in the back of his mind and fueled his desire to play harder.
"I told them when we made our way through the line after that game that I was looking forward to Sept. 30. Now it's their turn," Borvansky said.
The game Borvansky and his teammates have been waiting for is here -- the Sailors will host the Bulldogs at 4 p.m. today at Dudley Field.
"We want to go out and show them that what happened in the first game was a fluke," Borvansky said. "But it's not going to be easy."
Borvansky said Moffat County always plays tough when it meets Steamboat, and he is expecting another close game at Dudley tonight.
"They always get up for us," Borvansky said. "For them, this game can make or break their season."
A quick glance at the records would make you think that Steamboat has a huge advantage over the up-and-down Bulldogs. But Borvansky, his teammates and his coach know that isn't the case.
Moffat County is 3-5 for the season, but the Bulldogs have beaten Steamboat and Battle Mountain in key Western Slope matches this season.
The Bulldogs also have lost hard-fought games to Rifle (1-0) and Glenwood Springs (3-2).
"Sure, it's a big game, but then they are all big games," Sailor Danny Carlson said. "We are preparing for this game just like we prepare for every other game. I know everyone wants to win it, but for the most part we've left that first game behind us."
Carlson said he isn't looking for revenge, but is focused on the bigger picture and on carrying momentum from wins over Palisade (5-0) on Friday and Delta County (2-1) on Saturday into one of the biggest weeks of Steamboat's season. Steamboat will play Moffat County, Rifle and Glenwood Springs this week. The game against Rifle could help determine which team wins the league title. Rifle also has just one loss in the league.
"We are coming off of some pretty big wins, but we have to keep it going," Carlson said.
Steamboat got two goals from Alec Nelson en route to topping a struggling Palisade team 5-0 Friday in Palisade.
Harry Packer, Borvansky and Austin Ross also scored goals in the shutout game. Nick Bentley, Borvansky, Packer and Dillon Dennis provided assists in the win.
Things were not as easy Saturday in Delta County where Steamboat needed four minutes of overtime to top the Panthers in a 2-1 thriller.
Packer scored the game-tying goal with 10 minutes left to play. Four minutes into the first overtime period, a handball inside the goal box led to a Steamboat penalty kick and Packer's second goal of the game.
"The team played well the entire game, but we just couldn't get the ball into the back of the net," coach Rob Bohlmann said. "But our guys found a way to get it done when they needed to, and we are happy to get the win."
Bohlmann said after losing several players, the Sailors are struggling to find their rhythm. Dusty Atkinson is out for the season after breaking his leg in a game Tuesday. Mike Litzau also was out for several games and probably will not play tonight, Bohlmann said. Steamboat also will be without Bentley, who will be forced to sit out a game after receiving his third yellow card of the season against Delta County.
But thanks to solid play from backup goalkeeper Jordan Gray and Chris Troeger, who stepped up from junior varsity to fill in for injured players, Bohlmann expects Steamboat to maintain its presence on the field. Troeger piled up varsity minutes last weekend while Gray recorded the shutout against Palisade with eight saves.
Bohlmann said the team has been able to overcome a lot of adversity this year because the players are taking ownership in the team.
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