At the beginning of the season, when the members of the Steamboat Springs girls soccer team set their individual goals, everything somehow came back to the team.
That attitude lifted Steamboat to a 14-2-1 overall record, including an undefeated league season that ultimately landed five Sailors on the All-League or honorable mention All-League team this spring.
Talking about individual players isn't coach Rob Bohlmann's favorite thing to do, but he is pleased to see how important the team was to each member, including the five who were honored at Wednesday's end-of-season banquet.
Steamboat senior Melissa White, Soroco junior Lindsay Ellis, who plays for the Sailors, and sophomores Kelly Labor and Jessica Dover were named to the All-League team. Sophomore Kirsten Ryan received honorable-mention honors.
In addition, Labor, who led the league in goals scored during the regular season with 23, shared league Player of the Year honors with Glenwood Springs senior Heidi Wild.
"When we do a lot of our goal setting on an individual and group level, none of the girls ever talk about it being a goal to be All-League," Bohlmann said. "They put down specifics as far as areas they want to improve on technically. Even in individual areas, they come back to mentioning what they want to do to help the team win a league title and go as far as we can in the playoffs. It's a great attribute to see."
White played at midfield and on defense, Ellis was one of Steamboat's primary attackers, Dover played at midfield and Labor was used all over the field.
During league play, White, Dover, Labor and Ellis had the opportunity to showcase their skills on the field. Ryan, on the other hand, was rarely tested. For the second-straight season, with Ryan in goal, the Sailors did not lose a league game.
"In our league play, she doesn't necessarily stand out," Bohlmann said of Ryan. "Where she's recognized is in her ability to come up with a big save when needed and her connection to the game ... but you look at our two postseason games and she's the most valuable player without a doubt."
Key saves from Ryan helped Steamboat defeat Longmont in the first round of the postseason. Her play kept Steamboat in the game against Lewis-Palmer before the Sailors fell in overtime May 15.
Four of the five players recognized by the league this season return next year, as does a majority of the team that will aim for its third-straight league title and a deeper run into the postseason.
"Our challenge will be, can we continue to improve and play well at the highest level," Bohlmann said. "Does that say we will be overconfident in league play? Absolutely not. But we are looking to develop a mentality that we took one step forward and we will look to move forward."
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org