Steamboat Springs goalie Kirsten Ryan knows exactly how Rifle goalie Kadie LaRocque feels.
Ryan is in charge of defending her net against a potent Sailors attack -- and that's just in practice. It must be a nightmare to try to stop Steamboat in games.
The Sailors remained unbeaten in league play with a 5-1 win Tuesday against the Bears, drilling shot after shot at LaRocque and forcing the freshman to move all over the box.
"Last year, we weren't able to get out on the field until the end of the season," Ryan said. "It's hard to finish in a gym. ... I definitely think we are doing awesome, but we have a lot we can improve on."
Steamboat wasn't overly pleased with the way it played in Glenwood Springs on March 30, despite picking up a win. The Sailors did not open Tuesday's game well either and avoided falling in an early hole when Rifle shot attempts went wide or were stopped by Ryan.
Steamboat didn't appear focused until the midway point of the first half when sophomore Haley Gallagher scored on a header off a pass from sophomore Jessica Dover.
"It took a while for us to settle in," Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said. "We played with no sense of urgency."
And then Gallagher, Dover and sophomore Kelly Labor took over on the offensive end.
After Dover came up empty on several strong runs at the net, she scored the first of her two goals at the 13 minute, 9 second mark off a centering pass from Labor.
The trio of Dover, Gallagher and Labor teamed up again at the 8:15 mark when Dover passed off to Gallagher from the left sideline. Gallagher took the ball into the box and dropped a short pass to Labor, giving up a good shot for a great one.
Steamboat's 20-minute offensive attack wound down with 3:08 left in the half when Labor and Dover connected again for the third goal of the game.
"Dover was brilliant in the first half," Bohlmann said. "She and Haley were really working well together."
The Sailors came out in the second half and switched positions to score their final goal at the 24:54 mark. Junior Lindsay Ellis took a run behind the defense and waited for the defense and LaRocque to commit one way before dishing off to senior Melissa White for the easy score.
Sophomore Kelly Mugford scored the Bears' lone goal off a corner kick with 12:15 left on the clock. Teammate Tess Flanagan, a freshman, was credited with the assist, as underclassmen from both teams were able to show off their skills Tuesday.
"A lot of our key players are freshmen or sophomores," Rifle coach Tom Taucher said. "They are learning to play. ... We get caught ball-watching, and they would make a nice run, and we'd lose our mark. We need to encompass the whole play."
With the win, Steamboat improves to 5-1 and 5-0 in league play.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org