Rob Bohlmann spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday doubling as coach and team psychologist.
It paid off when the Steamboat Springs boys soccer team played one of its best games of the year in a 3-2 win against Palisade on Saturday.
The win was Steamboat's first of the season, and its three goals were one more than it had scored in the six previous games combined.
"The name of the game for us was getting things right in our heads," Bohlmann said. "This was a big-time difference with what we've seen for the past 1 1/2 weeks. We hadn't been playing with passion or enthusiasm."
Steamboat (1-5-1 overall, 1-2-1 in league) dropped a winnable game Tuesday against Vail Mountain School, prompting Bohlmann to talk about passion rather than passing drills.
Junior David Comeau, who netted Steamboat's first goal of the game, said the intensity the Sailors played with Saturday was a return to early-season form.
But Palisade got on the scoreboard first Saturday. Steamboat goalkeeper Elliot Girard, playing for an injured Bjorn Lickteig, swung to clear the ball out of the zone and missed entirely seven minutes in, allowing Cody Wallace to get behind Girard and knock in an easy goal.
Bohlmann challenged Steamboat to respond, and the Sailors offense put immediate pressure on the Bulldogs defense. It wasn't until the 28-minute mark, however, that Steamboat's scoring began, after Comeau knocked a goal past Palisade keeper Chris Martin.
"Nick (Labor) gave me a nice pass," Comeau said. "I went across grain. My first shot was blocked."
Palisade regained the lead in the opening minute of the second half, but the Sailors evened the score on Max Hamil's penalty kick 14 minutes into the half. Hamil was headed toward the goal on the right side when he was dragged down from behind in the box, giving him the shot attempt.
Girard settled in at keeper for the rest of the game and made several great saves -- high and low -- to give Steamboat's offense a chance to pull out the win.
The Sailors got that goal from newcomer Miguel Lomeli 28 minutes in on a pass from senior Neal Ficker.
Lomeli, a junior, played one game for Steamboat's junior varsity last week before Bohlmann moved him to varsity.
Lomeli was excited to kick the winning goal in his first varsity game.
"I feel good because the team won, so it's cool," Lomeli said.
Up next for Steamboat is a 6 p.m. game Tuesday against Moffat County under the lights at Steamboat Springs High School.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com