Third time is the charm

Steamboat Springs lacrosse finds success in third season

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Building lacrosse programs has become sort of like a hobby for Bob Hiester.

After helping start the varsity teams at Smoky Hill and Grandview, Hiester brought his knowledge of the sport to Steamboat Springs three seasons ago.

This year, under Hiester's guidance, the Sailors went 6-4, winning their final five games of the spring.

At the end of season three, Hiester said Steamboat's program is on a similar timeline as the programs at Smoky Hill and Grandview.

"It's basically the same type of improvement," he said. "It starts clicking and starts making sense, and they start playing the game."

The Steamboat Springs boys lacrosse team wrapped up the 2003 season with its postseason award banquet last week.

Junior Danny Carlson took home his second MVP award in as many years after leading the team with 28 goals.

Carlson and junior Henry Howard and Harry Packer were named team captains. Howard, who won the Most Inspirational Award, also was the team leader in assists with seven.

The progress Steamboat made this season easily is gauged in the increased number of goals and assists compared to last spring. Last year, Carlson was the Sailors' leading scorer with eight goals. Last season, two assists was the team high.

In Steamboat's last game of the nine goals it scored, seven were assisted.

"That's good lacrosse," Hiester said.

The Coach's Award for extra effort and dedication went to sophomore goalie Yoshi Yonekawa. Sophomores Colin Butler and Leo Chea picked up the Most Improved Award.

Packer and Nick Monterotti were the only seniors on this year's Sailors team, so Hiester is looking forward to working with the returning players and the incoming freshmen next spring.

"Enthusiasm is high," he said. "It's a good group of kids, first of all. They really work with each other. It's a nice environment. If there's any area we need to focus on it's the defense, and we will. The players are young."

This season, Steamboat played an independent schedule mixed with varsity and JV teams, so they were ineligible for postseason play. Hiester said there is some talk of returning to a competitive schedule. If that happens, Steamboat will join the Foothills League and receive more home games and a more competitive schedule.

But most of Colorado's lacrosse teams are unsure of next season's schedules. The increase in the number of programs has left some concern over what to do with league and nonleague scheduling at this point in the spring, Hiester said.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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