Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs girls lacrosse team got a picture of where they want to eventually be.
Playing against state powerhouse Colorado Academy, a team that's a fixture among the top 5 teams in the state, Steamboat saw a team that won nearly every ground ball, had pinpoint passes and executed offensive sets with precision.
"There's a reason they're third in the state," Steamboat coach Jenn Kirkpatrick said after Saturday's 17-1 loss at Gardner Field. "I went to high school in Denver and they've always been top 5. They've all been playing together since middle school and they have awesome athletes."
Still, Kirkpatrick said the score didn't tell the story of the game.
"The score reflects how good of a team 'CA' is but it doesn't reflect how hard we worked," Kirkpatrick said. "We ran our butts off and hustled."
After the Mustangs scored just two minutes into the game, the Sailors looked like they might just be up to pulling the upset.
Senior Maria Heilner scooted through several defenders and rifled a shot to tie the game up at 1-1.
But after that, Colorado Academy took advantage of its athleticism and speed, winning every faceoff and keeping the ball in Steamboat's defensive zone.
The Mustangs scored five goals in a two-minute span to take a 6-1 lead with 17 minutes, 14 seconds left in the first half. Five more first half goals gave the Mustangs an 11-1 lead heading into halftime.
In the second half, Colorado Academy added five more goals and limited Steamboat's offensive challenges.
"We just know we need to have intensity the whole game," sophomore Janie Townes said. "In this game, we were intense and we played hard."
Despite the lopsided score Kirkpatrick said was happy with the effort the Sailors put forth. In the end, she said, Saturday's game was as a valuable learning experience.
"You can really learn and see how passing and catching wins games," she said. "The thing that they did is in five seconds they can get from their goalie down scoring because they make five long passes. We don't quite have those skills of passing down field but they can learn from that kind of passing."
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