There must be something about soccer games between Steamboat Springs and Moffat County that brings out the worst in the weather.
When the two teams met March 27, the girls endured one half of blizzard-like conditions before Steamboat prevailed, 10-0.
On Saturday, the Sailors defeated the Bulldogs, 8-0, on a muddy and torn-up Gardner Field. Surprisingly, that was the best surface available in the area; Craig's fields were blanketed in several inches of snow.
But Moffat County coach Lori Smith didn't complain about the adverse conditions. If anything, she thought the wet field would help the Bulldogs against the possession-oriented Sailors.
"We know when we play Steamboat it's going to be a defensive game for us," Smith said.
Smith said that the key for her team against the Sailors is communication and picking up Steamboat's dangerous runs at mid-field.
This season, however, the Sailors are so deep and have such a large number of players confident in their finishing ability that the Bulldogs had difficulty stopping the mid-field runs, especially in the second half.
"We work on staying strong through the whole match," Steamboat sophomore Ann Barney said.
Barney was one of six Sailors to score Saturday, as coach Rob Bohlmann mixed the lineup. The Sailors are in the midst of a stretch of seven games in 15 days, so he is trying to monitor minutes played without compromising the level of play.
"This past week has taken a lot of energy," Bohlmann said. "At the same time, we had to give this game the respect it's due and play hard."
Junior Lindsay Ellis put Steamboat on the board first at the 37-minute mark of the first half. Bulldogs goalie Heather Brown, a freshman, did her part to keep the game close with a couple of key saves in the opening 10 minutes. But Ellis again created distance between herself and the defense before delivering a perfect centering pass that sophomore Casey Garth knocked through in stride at 27:53.
Sophomore Jessica Dover added the Sailors' final goal of the half at 14:09 off an assist from Garth.
The Bulldogs had two great scoring opportunities in the second half. The first came at the midway point on a breakaway by Stephanie Brazelton, but her shot went just wide of the net. The second was on Ashleigh Mann's penalty kick attempt that went through the football uprights but not the soccer net in the final three minutes of the game.
Between Moffat County's attempts to get the ball past back-up goalie Shannon King, Steamboat added five goals, two from sophomore Kelly Labor, two from Barney and one from starting goalie Kirsten Ryan, also a sophomore.
"It's fun when she scores," Barney said of Ryan.
With the win, Steamboat improved to 6-1-1 overall and 6-0 in Western Slope League play. Battle Mountain is the only other league team left unbeaten after the Huskies postponed Saturday's game with Glenwood Springs because of the weather.
Steamboat will meet Battle Mountain at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Minturn. The Huskies have not given up a goal in league play this season, while the Sailors have scored 31 goals in Western Slope play
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org