Steamboat Springs Coming off back-to-back league losses, the Steamboat Springs soccer team played with what Sailors captain Nick Labor described as "a lot of emotion" Saturday morning against Centaurus.
The Sailors played a physical game, fighting for loose balls, but were unable to turn their energy into a win. The Warriors topped the Sailors, 3-2.
Steamboat controlled the ball in the game's opening minutes, getting a few good looks on net, but failing to finish.
Centaurus got the game's first goal when striker Ari Valenzuela caught the Sailors' fullbacks off-guard, snatching a pass and nailing a low shot in the bottom corner past Steamboat goalie Bjorn Lickteig.
"They capitalized early, and we didn't respond well," Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann said.
Centaurus went up 2-0 on a botched free kick from the right side. Warrior Colin Schramm nudged the ball through to Jose Nunez, who slipped a one-bounce shot just under Lickteig.
"It had a funny bounce and we didn't react quick enough," said Max Hamil, playing defense for the Sailors in the first half.
Steamboat came out in the second half with a renewed focus, getting a handful of early chances. Warriors goalkeeper Ben Thomson made an impressive save on a David Comeau breakaway.
But Comeau kept the offensive momentum going, finding Labor streaking on the right and sending him a perfect ball that Labor scored to cut the Centaurus lead to 2-1.
The comeback did not last long. A minute later, Centaurus went up 3-1 when the Sailors inadvertently deflected a Warriors' cross from Schramm into their own goal.
With five minutes to go, Steamboat began rushing the offensive end with urgency as Sam Houston broke up a pass and found Darby McNamara for a wide-open shot he finished for a second Steamboat goal.
"We played well until those last ten minutes," Warriors coach Ken Ebersole said. "We got a little scattered and they kept pushing and pushing and pushing."
The non-league loss puts Steamboat at 5-5-1 overall, 4-3-1 in league. Centaurus is 7-7.
"Those two goals were unlucky," Labor said. "We played a little too much kick and chase, but we scrapped for every ball, and I thought we played well. Overall, the intensity's there that we've been lacking."
Labor already is looking ahead to his team's home stretch of four league games, which starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Moffat County.
- To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org