Planting the soccer seed

Sailors back in playoff bracket after two-year slump

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— After a two-year hiatus from postseason play, Steamboat Springs High School boys soccer coach Rob Bohlmann is pleased to see his team back in the playoff bracket.

The Sailors came together for a "collective team win" during a muddy Monday night showdown in Glenwood Springs, Bohlmann said. The 1-0 victory qualified Steamboat for the Colorado High School Activities Association's 32-team, 4A state championship bracket.

Monday's win capped off a seven-day streak that included four consecutive league wins. The Sailors ended the regular season 9-5-1 overall and 8-3-1 in league play. They finished second in the Western Slope League behind Battle Mountain.

"We're peaking at the right time. Our system of play is down, and our organization is down," Bohlmann said, noting how he plans to focus on polishing Steamboat's play while awaiting the outcome of the Sunday morning CHSAA seeding committee meeting.

Although the Sailors finished second in their league, the five playoff spots awarded to Western Slope teams also factor in two regional 4A teams from the Southwestern Conference - Montrose and Montezuma-Cortez.

With a 12-2 record, Montrose could take the No. 1 spot from Battle Mountain (10-2-1) based on the outcome of their final games this week. Such a scenario could push Steamboat down to third.

The final two qualifying spots will be contested this week between Glenwood, Eagle Valley and Montezuma-Cortez.

Bohlmann estimated that his team could be seeded somewhere between 18th and 24th in the state bracket, but he won't know for sure until the committee meets Sunday.

"The Western Slope is really discounted because none of us have won (a state championship)," said Battle Mountain coach Dave Cope, whose team, along with Montrose, represented the region's best hope for a title until they both were eliminated in last year's quarterfinals.

Cope estimated that Steamboat could be seeded as high as 16th or as low as 29th. CHSAA assistant commissioner Chuck Howell said it would be highly unlikely for the Sailors to get a seed in the top 16, meaning they likely will play their first game on the road. Regardless of the seeding outcome, Steamboat's first-round playoff game will be Oct. 25. The second-round game would be Oct. 28.

Bohlmann plans to keep his team's intensity and momentum rolling with a Saturday scrimmage at Battle Mountain.

"With this group, you get to the playoffs and anything can happen," Bohlmann said. "These guys are excited to go out and do everything they can to make a run."

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