Steamboat Springs Mountain Range High School's boys lacrosse program may only be in its first season, but its team gave Steamboat Springs a game Friday afternoon in Thornton.
Steamboat coach Bob Hiester described the clean match that featured only four minutes of combined penalties as one characterized by "classic ground ball battles and great effort."
Despite the athleticism and hustle of Mountain Range (1-7) that allowed it to compete with Steamboat on the ground balls, Steamboat secured a 7-5 win.
Jumping up 2-0 in the first period, Steamboat allowed Mountain Range to get back into the game in the second quarter. Hiester made some adjustments to match Mountain Range's early control of the faceoffs and ground balls as well as to fill the offensive void of lead scorer Kevin Bertrand, absent with the flu.
Hiester moved faceoff midfielder Gus Worden to play attack, where he and Chase Grippa scored two goals a piece.
"On the faceoffs, we ended up letting (long-stick midfielder) Nigel Hammond take them and he really negated their guy and we just let the wings battle it out," Hiester said.
Steamboat picked up its pace in the third quarter, when Hiester said his team raised "the whole level of intensity," and extended its second half lead to 7-4 before Mountain Range notched another goal in the closing seconds of the game, stealing a pass off an errant Steamboat clear.
Hiester thought his team rode the ball well to create turnovers and that his defensive unit made strides in playing better position and in putting consistent pressure and quality stick checks on Mountain Range's offense.
Steamboat goalie Scot Forney finished the game with 13 saves. Logan Lightfoot scored a goal and his team's only assist. Sean Forney and Tyler Ostrom also scored for Steamboat.
"The lacrosse is getting better in all areas," Hiester said, hoping his team could generate more dynamic and assisted scoring opportunities in today's game.
The win puts Steamboat at 3-6 as it heads into the second game of its road trip, today against Evergreen at the North Area Athletic Complex in Arvada.