Soccer teams place in tourney

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Two Steamboat Springs soccer teams placed in the top four of their respective divisions in the 21st annual Steamboat Mountain Soccer Tournament from July 15 to 17.

The U18 girls took second, and the U13 boys placed fourth to represent the host community.

More than 100 teams attended last weekend's tournament, which helps raise money for the Steamboat Springs Youth Soccer Academy. Eleven local teams participated.

Jim and Niki Titus helped coach the U18 girls and also served as tournament directors. Steamboat's U18 team essentially was next season's high school varsity team, with several exceptions, including Lindsay Ellis, Nicole Balvanz and Allison Lewis. All three graduated in the spring, leaving behind a younger squad.

In the finals, Steamboat faced the Rock Run Rapids from Rockford, Ill., in a rematch. Earlier in the tournament, Rock Run defeated Steamboat, 3-0. Steamboat came back to defeat Hancock Black, 5-2, on Saturday to advance to the Sunday championship.

Rock Run won, 4-3, in a shootout.

"The girls played great," Jim Titus said. "And we couldn't have asked for more with all these young girls. We had no expectations."

All but one member of the Rapids had graduated from high school. Titus said Steamboat did not play well the first time it faced the Rapids, but the girls responded in the championship match on Dudley Field.

"We played much better," Titus said. "We were winning 3-2 with 30 seconds left, and they scored."

The two teams remained tied through overtime and had to go to a shootout to determine the winner. For those running, walking or biking on the Yampa River Core Trail, they got an unexpected treat. Several stopped to watch.

The Rapids pulled out the win in the shootout. Titus said "it's a coin toss" trying to stop a kick from such short range. The player either misfires or the goalie guesses correctly.

In the boys brackets, after rolling through pool play, Steamboat's U13 team came up short in its attempt to repeat as tournament champion. Last year, the team won the U12 title.

On Sunday, Steamboat lost to the Club United Blackhawks, 6-2, and to Rush Advanced 1, 6-2, in the consolation round. They finished in fourth place.

The summer tournament season is either over or finishing up for Steamboat soccer players.

However, two members of Steamboat's U18 team -- Ellis and senior-to-be Kelly Labor -- will be playing in the Colorado High School Soccer Coaches Association's 2005 All-State Game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Broomfield High School.

The girls will be on the green team coached by Mountain Vista's Theresa Echtermeyer, Arapahoe's Kirk Best and Denver Christian's Brad Ho--man. Ellis and Labor were selected as forwards.

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