Maybe the Steamboat Springs boys lacrosse team should get to play at home more often.
The Sailors picked up their second straight home win of the season after defeating Monarch's JV squad, 8-7, on Saturday at Gardner Field.
Steamboat only has two home games on the schedule this season and both ended in victory this week. Steamboat defeated Englewood on Wednesday.
Weather and the lack of any other Western Slope team forces the Sailors to travel to Denver and Colorado Springs for a majority of their games, but the team was excited to pick up two home wins with the season winding down.
Steamboat wraps up the year Saturday in Mullen.
"Every pregame, coach (Bob Hiester) says, 'Win or lose, we are coming off the field a better team,'" senior Greg Packer said. "This was one of the best games we've played."
This season -- the lacrosse team's third as a varsity sport --Steamboat is playing an independent schedule and isn't eligible for postseason. In turn, the Sailors scheduled a mix of varsity and JV teams in an effort to match up better.
Last spring, Monarch's varsity and JV teams dominated Steamboat. This year, the Sailors defeated the JV team, and Coyotes coach Glenn Pinkertonn said he was taken aback by the improvements the Sailors had made in one season.
"They throw and catch and play the game," he said. "I honestly expected them to be weaker. I left three of my better players at home. I won't do that again."
Steamboat held a slim lead for most of the game until Monarch moved ahead, 6-5, with 7 minutes, 25 seconds left in the third quarter.
The Coyotes' Michael Christman pushed his team ahead by two goals at the outset of the fourth, and it appeared as if Monarch was ready to pull away.
But not even 10 seconds later, Steamboat's Andrew Zopf pulled the Sailors back to within one on his first goal of the game. Zopf took the draw, picked up the ground ball and ran unobstructed toward the goal. Danny Carlson tied the game with 6:53 to go, despite everyone's knowing he was taking the shot. All game, Pinkertonn could be heard yelling at his defense to limit Carlson's touches.
When the Sailors cleared out to give Carlson a chance to bring them back into the game, all the Coyotes' defense could do was watch him drive around his defender to score his fourth goal of the afternoon with ease.
The winning goal, however, didn't come off Carlson's stick. It came off Justin Howard's.
After a Steamboat timeout, the Sailors worked the ball around on their offensive end with Howard behind the net to control the ball. When he made a move toward the goal, no one budged, and he walked untouched to take the low shot.
"It kind of just happened," Howard said. "They were used to me passing to Danny. I took it around the net and put it in."
Visibly improved, Steamboat's decision to win Saturdays' game is another indication that progress is being made in the program. Before playing Monarch, Packer and Nick Monterotti were recognized. They are the only two seniors on the team, so a host of players will return next season.
"There are things we have to do better," Hiester said. "The kids sucked it up (Saturday) and came back. They showed some poise."
Steamboat goalie Yoshi Yonekawa made 13 saves, including 10 in the second half. Monarch goalie Sean Corrigan made 14 saves.
Scoring for the Coyotes were: Christman, Spencer Kline, Zach Leibowitz, Jack Norbeck, Rocky Borgstrom and Joel Shute.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org