Steamboat Springs It's tough to win in a sport that was created to settle territorial disputes when you have no territory to protect, let alone practice on.
Without a single home game or foreseeable outdoor field practice to look forward to, the 2006 season for the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team has been a bit of a challenge, to say the least.
"We're road warriors, it's just what you've got to do," coach Bob Hiester said. "We've got a positive group. No matter the situation, we've always hustled."
Despite their hustle, Hiester's squad fell to Fort Collins Unified, 8-4, on Tuesday afternoon in Fort Collins.
"It was a disappointing loss. We had no offensive pressure. Our goalies were getting spattered with shots because we weren't quick enough on our slides," Hiester said.
Andy Flax and Yoshi Yone--kawa, splitting time in goal for Steamboat, managed to hold the explosive Fort Collins team to eight goals -- no small feat considering Fort Collins, tied for first place in the Foothills Conference, runs a pair of deep varsity teams drawn from three high schools.
"We just couldn't carry over the quality play we had from the weekend games," Hiester said.
At Grand Junction's Border Wars Tournament for high school and college teams from Colorado and Utah, Steamboat finally got outside for some much needed field experience.
"Lacrosse is a space game, in terms of spreading the offense and running the fast break. You can't really get that in the gym," Hiester said. "We got double the grass time that we've had up to this point."
Working off the momentum of two valuable scrimmages March 30, the Sailors had a proud showing against a scrappy Smoky Hill team March 31 despite losing, 10-5.
"There was a real turning point for us where we finally learned how to handle the ball under pressure," Hiester said.
In the final weekend games, Steamboat put together two of its most effective efforts of the season, handily beating Utah high school teams Juan Diego on March 31 and Pleasant Grove on April 1 by a combined score of 27-6.
Those wins will not affect Steam----boat's Foothills Conference standing. At 0-3, Steamboat needs to win all five of its remaining conference games for a playoff berth in what Hiester describes as "the meat of the schedule."