Sailors soccer still perfect after weekend wins

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The Steamboat Springs girls soccer team remained unbeaten this season with wins against Delta and Palisade during the weekend.

The Sailors defeated the Panthers, 4-1, on Friday and turned around to beat the Bulldogs, 6-0, on Saturday.

Steamboat is 5-0 overall and 5-0 in Western Slope League play.

"The result against Delta wasn't a true indicator of how good a group they have," Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said. "They have come from no program to a great soccer team. We were impressed with their level of play."

Junior Kelly Labor scored three goals for Steamboat in the Friday win. Sophomore Betty Sasak had an assist on Labor's second goal. Junior Jessie Dov-er scored the fourth goal for the Sailors.

Delta scored with less than 10 minutes remaining, and the outcome all but decided. Junior Kirsten Ryan started in net, and backup Shannon King, a sophomore, came in for the second half.

King got the start in goal at the outset of the Palisade game and notched the shutout victory for Steamboat.

Labor had two goals and an assist. Senior Nicole Balvanz had one goal and two assists.

Sophomore Hannah Brown, junior Ann Barney and Ryan also scored for the Sailors. Dover was credited with an assist on Barney's goal against Palisade.

The Sailors have given up just two goals in five games, while scoring 17.

"The girls are getting it done as a unit on both sides of the ball," Bohlmann said. "Defense isn't specific to our back four and our goal keeper. It's how we are defending as a unit. What's even more important is we are 5-0 in the league and we are improving with each game."

This season, Bohlmann has moved Dover to center back, a completely new role for her, and she has adapted nicely. One of Steamboat's primary scorers in past years, Dover is now one of Steamboat's primary ball handlers in the back.

"What's great about that, as we push forward and attack with this group, she can have a trailing run going forward," Bohlmann said. "If we were ever to recycle the ball back, she is in a situation to receive the ball. There really are a lot of positives on both sides of the ball."

Steamboat's toughest game of the regular season is at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Thunderridge High School in Highlands Ranch. Steamboat will face Lewis-Palmer, the team who eliminated the Sailors from the playoffs last season, on a neutral site. Lewis-Palmer is now a Class 5A school.

"It's an extremely big game," Bohlmann said. "We have everything to gain and nothing to lose. It's our opportunity to make a statement to the rest of the leagues around the state. We have to be able to go out and seize the moment."

Traditionally, the Western Slope does not receive favorable postseason seeds because the state views Steamboat's league as inferior to the others in the state. Upending Lewis-Palmer undoubtedly would benefit the Sailors should they advance to postseason play.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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