After finishing the regular season 15-0, the Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team will open the playoffs today seeded fifth in the state.
The news was met with mixed emotions Monday as the Sailors went to work preparing to face Widefield.
"I'm upset," senior Lindsay Ellis said during a break in practice. "I felt like we were an easy No. 4 seed, so I think we all found the seed a little upsetting. There is no doubt that we will use it as motivation in the playoffs."
Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann also thought the Sailors should have been seeded higher, but he tried to stay positive because it is the first time that two teams from the Western Slope have earned top-10 seeds.
" I think this is a step forward for our league," Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said after learning that the Sailors were fifth and the Battle Mountain Huskies were ranked 10th. "Now we have to go out and show that we are deserving."
Steamboat, the only undefeated 4A soccer team in the state, will take on Widefield (8-7) at 4 p.m. today at Dudley Field.
Widefield finished fifth in the Colorado Springs Metro League and is ranked 28th in the tournament. Although the Sailors will be favored, Bohlmann and the Sailors are expecting a playoff atmosphere when they take the field.
"We are looking for the playoffs to be wide open this year," Bohlmann said. From defending champion Greeley West, a team that won back-to-back titles, to Regis, a team making its first tournament appearance in its first year, Bohlmann thinks most of the top seeds have programs capable of winning. This will be the first time Widefield and Steamboat have met this season, and Gladiators coach Patrick Pickens admits he doesn't know a lot about Steamboat. But he knows that his team, which is seeded 28th, will be the underdog. "It's been more than two weeks since we've played a game," Pickens said. "My girls are just ready to get on a field and play some soccer."
Because of scheduling, Widefield hasn't played a game since April 25. The Gladiators lost to Manitou Springs in the game, and Pickens said the break allowed the team to rest and for players to recover from injuries. However, he said the team will be without the team's top scorer, Bridgett Berg, who suffered a season-ending concussion three weeks ago. In her absence, midfielder Brittany Mason has been asked to step up her game.
On the other side of the field, the Sailors are coming off a busy week, which ended with a thrilling 1-0 win against Battle Mountain on Thursday.
The victory gave the Sailors the league title, but it came at a cost. It is questionable whether Ellis will play in the first round after breaking the second toe on her right foot in the game against Battle Mountain. Bohlmann said she can play but that he would like to rest her if possible.
Widefield lost a heartbreaker to Cheyenne Mountain, 2-0, and No. 6 Liberty, 3-0, this season.