The players on the Steamboat Springs bench spent the final five minutes with their backs to the field. They couldn't bear to watch the game anymore. It was too painful.
The wind was blowing snow -- or at times those annoying white pellets -- into the players' faces on both benches, so the Sailors turned around and huddled together.
It wasn't as if the outcome of the game between Steamboat and Moffat County was in doubt.
The Sailors picked up their third win of the season Saturday, defeating the Bulldogs 10-0 at Woodbury Park, scoring seven first-half goals and adding three more late in the second.
Steamboat had nearly two weeks off between its last game and Saturday's game against Moffat County. In that time, warm, dry weather teased the Sailors into thinking they might get to play at home for the first time in March in years.
And then reality struck late Friday night and early Saturday morning, when a snowstorm left the Christian Heritage fields covered in snow, forcing the game to be played in Craig on a last-minute decision.
Some Steamboat players even drove themselves to the game because there was no bus.
But the adverse conditions didn't detract from the performance put on by the Sailors on Saturday. They controlled the game from opening to end, and the Bulldogs only had several legitimate shots on goal.
"We used this two-week window to focus on fitness while not compromising the rest of our training," Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. "They've responded really well. Whether we play a lesser team, an equivalent team or a better team we want to keep our level of play solid and consistent."
The Sailors wasted little time getting on the scoreboard when Kelly Labor scored the first of her four first-half goals six minutes in. Lindsay Ellis scored eight minutes later off an assist from Labor at midfield.
Ann Barney and Jamie Jones also knocked in goals for Steamboat in the first 40 minutes of play, as Bulldogs goalie Heather Jones did all she could to stop the large number of shots she faced in net.
Brown made several nice saves within a few minutes of each other, deflecting an Ellis shot 27 minutes in and stopping Haley Gallagher's shot 30 minutes in, pushing the rebound wide enough that Gallagher's second attempt hit the side of the net.
The Bulldogs' best scoring attempt came in the final minute of the first half on a direct kick from the right side of the box, but Sailors goalie Kirsten Ryan swallowed the shot in her gloves.
Steamboat, largely behind the play of Ryan and the defense, has not allowed a goal this season. Then again, it's tough to score when the Sailors' midfielders and strikers are busy driving soccer balls into the opponents' net.
Bohlmann made a series of substitutions in the second half, giving all his players some time on the slippery, cold field. Both teams went scoreless through the first 22 minutes before Jenna Conlin netted her first goal of the game, angling the shot just out of Brown's reach to give Steamboat an 8-0 lead.
Ali Lewis and Ellis added the final two goals for the Sailors before the official blew the final whistle, sending both teams on a mad dash toward their coats and blankets on the sideline.
Labor said it's always an added bonus when players who don't always score get the opportunity to put one in the net.
"They do a lot of work in the back," Labor said. "You seem to get more recognition if you score."
Steamboat improves to 3-0 on the season and remains undefeated in league play, as well. Moffat County falls to 1-1 and 0-1 in Western Slope play. The Sailors return to action Tuesday when they travel to Glenwood Springs for their highly anticipated match-up with the Demons, one of the preseason favorites to win the league.
"We're excited for that one," Labor said.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208
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