The members of the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team were treated to a valuable learning experience in Fort Collins on Saturday. And it came not from the Fort Collins High School's top-ranked varsity team, but from the squad's future stars on the junior varsity squad.
"That program is loaded," Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. "Their varsity team is one of the best in the state, and their junior varsity players are not too far behind."
Steamboat learned that firsthand during a 12-1 loss to the younger team from Fort Collins.
While it was a tough loss for his team, the coach thinks what the team learned will be key to its improvement.
How the Steamboat players use those lessons could unfold this weekend when they head to Grand Junction for the annual Border Wars Lacrosse Tournament.
"We are still getting used to playing on grass," Hiester said. "You just don't get a feel for how the ball bounces when you are practicing in a gym or in a parking lot. We are still having a lot of problems picking the ball up off the ground."
It also didn't help that Steamboat's offense never really got the chance to shine.
"What concerned me about this game wasn't our lack of offense but our defense," Hiester said. "We spent way too much time in our defensive end."
Steamboat goalkeeper Yoshi Yonekawa managed to stop 10 of the 22 shots he faced in the game, but it was not enough.
After scoring two goals in the first quarter, the Fort Collins team exploded with four more in the second -- more than enough to ensure the win.
Steamboat's only offensive spark of the day came in the second quarter, when Danny Carlson shot the ball past the Fort Collins' goalkeeper after getting a nice pass from teammate Gunde Schrock. The goal made the score 6-1 at the half. But Fort Collins cruised to the win with six more goals in the game. Steamboat will not have time to dwell on the loss, however.
The team leaves for Grand Junction on Thursday for the start of the Borders War Tournament.
Steamboat is scheduled to scrimmage Overland, Wheat Ridge and Monarch on opening day.
The Sailors will face Utah's Bingham High School at 10:30 a.m. and Brighton at 3:30 p.m. Friday before wrapping up the weekend with a contest against Juan Diego at 9 a.m. Saturday.
"This is a great chance to play a lot of games in a short period of time," Hiester said.