A new look

Steamboat girls reload soccer ranks

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Girls soccer schedule

Tuesday at Moffat County, 4 p.m.

March 15 vs. Eagle Valley, 5:45 p.m.

March 22 at Battle Mountain, 4 p.m.

March 24 at Palisade, 11 a.m.

March 27 vs. Rifle, 4 p.m.

March 30 at Eagle Valley, 3:30 p.m.

March 31 at Delta, 11 a.m.

April 5 vs. Glenwood Springs, 5:45 p.m.

April 7 vs. Battle Mountain, 11 a.m.

April 10 vs. Moffat County, 5:45 p.m.

April 12 at Rifle, 4 p.m.

April 14 vs. Palisade, 11 a.m.

April 19 vs. Delta, 5:45 p.m.

May 1 at Glenwood Springs, 4 p.m.

May 5 vs. Thomas Jefferson, 5:30 p.m.

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Freshman Courtney Garth practices with the Sailors soccer team on Gardner Field at Steamboat Springs High School on Wednesday.

— The girls on this year's Steamboat Springs High School soccer team know they have some big shoes to fill.

The team graduated a tight-knit core of eight seniors who led the Sailors to a staggering 52-1-1 league record during the past four years.

Even so, returning starter Carly Earp sees strong potential in this year's team. Earp is one of four returning starters for the Sailors.

"There's a lot of different girls coming together and a lot of talent that wasn't out there last year," Earp said. "(Last year's seniors) were great to work with and taught us a lot, but there's a lot of open spots and a lot of girls who haven't had a chance whose talent is coming out and who aren't as nervous about it."

Significant to the success of the team will be the group of nine seniors.

"It's bad and weird because there was always that leadership, but it's good because we can be our own team now," senior Shannon King said about the turnover.

"It's a different, fun environment," added senior Lauren Letson.

Letson and Betty Sasak are the only seniors who started last year, but head coach Rob Bohlmann thinks the veterans have what it takes to step into main roles.

"I think the seniors innately have the ability to make things happen," Bohlmann said. "We're trying to make sure we create a competitive culture in every game. The girls are tremendously positive - there's a good feel in this group - and everybody has it in their minds that we're going, for a sixth year, to win a Western Slope League title."

The Sailors had a chance to make their first field adjustments during the weekend with three half-game scrimmages against Dakota Ridge, Douglas County and Lewis-Palmer. Bohlmann still is watching players develop into positions heading into Saturday's scrimmage at Greeley West and the team's season opener Tuesday at Moffat County.

Bohlmann said he can expect contributions from sophomore Hanna Berglund in goal as well as Letson, Sasak, Earp and junior returning starter Miranda Schrock. On offense, Bohlmann mentioned sophomore forward Mandi DeVos and junior transfer Amanda Tegtmeier.

Bohlmann said he hopes his team can find its identity as he gauges a league schedule with top teams such as Battle Mountain and Glenwood Springs, which continue to turn out deep rosters of skilled players.

"We need to live in the legacy of our predecessors and decide what we're about," Bohlmann said. "It's an awesome group that's having fun and working hard - that's what it's all about. We'll go one game, adjust, improve and keep it simple."

- To reach Dave Shively, call 871-4253 or e-mail dshively@steamboatpilot.com

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