One last hurrah

Soccer team's seniors want perfect finish

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— There is no time for complacency when chasing perfection, so Steamboat Springs girls soccer coach Rob Bohlmann has been pleased with his team's preseason mood.

"There is an attitude that we need to take this to a higher level," he said. "They have had the right frame of mind in the preseason. There has not been any complacency at all."

The Sailors have won 38 straight Western Slope League games. This year's seniors have never lost a league game. If Steamboat rolls through the Western Slope again, the Sailors will be 52-0 in league play in the past four years.

It isn't just Steamboat's superior talent that separates it from other teams.

"No. 1, I'd say, is they are as good as it gets when it comes to playing personalities," Bohlmann said.

The Sailors have goal scorers, ball handlers, speed, smart defenders and excellent goalkeeping. They also have great leadership, thanks to a group of eight senior girls, many of whom have been playing together since they were 8 years old.

"That's one of the biggest things they have to play for: the uniqueness," Bohlmann said. "Being able to grow up together, being friends on and off the field, playing club and high school soccer. This is one last hurrah."

This year's senior class is Ann Barney, Jessica Dover, Haley Gallagher, Casey Garth, Kelly Labor, Kathleen Lyon, Jessica Peters and Kirsten Ryan.

Peters, a two-time state champion in track, opted to return to soccer for her senior season. Her speed -- she is a 400-meter state champion -- will surprise teams that aren't used to seeing her on a soccer field.

"We are excited to have her back," Bohlmann said. "We will try and isolate her on the flank and use her speed coming out of the midfield."

The Sailors are practicing indoors but have taken advantage of warm weather in Grand Junction and in Denver during preseason camps and scrimmages.

On Saturday, Steamboat scrimmaged against Lewis-Palmer, Douglas County and Dakota Ridge -- all larger schools.

The preparation was needed because Steamboat opens the season at 11 a.m. Saturday against Broomfield, a 2005 semifinalist and preseason No. 1 in the Rocky Mountain News.

The addition of Eagle Valley in the league last year limits the number of nonleague games the Sailors can play. Steamboat's game against Broomfield is its only chance to impress Front Range committee members who seed teams for the postseason.

"It's not do or die, but there is a lot to be had," Bohlmann said.

Steamboat opens the season in shape because of agility and conditioning work players did voluntarily since January. Many of the girls also played club soccer and played in indoor tournaments.

Now, the one-year wait since losing to Greeley Central in the playoffs -- Steamboat's only loss last season -- is over. The Sailors are ready to finish what they started.

"There is a great mesh, and the seniors have done a great job," Bohlmann said. "The younger players are playing for themselves and the seniors. The spirit in the camp is as good as I've seen it."

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