Sailors senior starters stack all-league soccer lineup

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— The Steamboat Springs High School boys soccer team emerged from a string of close games to establish a winning Class 4A Western Slope League record (6-4-2), earn a postseason berth and finish with a respectable showing against a staunch first-round opponent, No. 5-seed Greeley Central.

On Oct. 19, when coaches from the league met to choose the league's top players, four senior Sailors made the cut - a fitting honor for the team's impressive season. Steamboat fullback Michael Lyon and forward Sean Hurst were honored with All-Western Slope League first-team selections. Fullbacks Bryce Peters and Kevin Bertrand earned honorable mentions.

"It's not necessarily determined by position as much as overall impact from the players," Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said about the selections. "Getting two first team and two honorable mention is very respectable, as is earning that third spot in league, tied with Eagle Valley (who took second place because of tiebreaking criteria)."

Lyon and Peters worked together to form a stingy, scrappy defensive pairing that led the Sailors to shutout victories against Eagle Valley, Palisade and Moffat County.

"They were the spine for our whole system," Bohlmann said.

Sean Hurst's relentless attacking style, which Bohlmann said helped send the Sailors' offense "over the edge," sparked a three-game, 17-goal winning streak to start the second half of the season.

Even with game ineligibilities because of his transfer from Elizabeth, Hurst led the team in scoring, playing in only the final nine of the Sailors' 16 games.

Some of the team's biggest goals of the year came off the head and feet of Bertrand. The utility player scored the winning goal and the tying goal in the closing minutes of Steamboat's final two regular season games, against Rifle and Moffat County, to help seal Steamboat's postseason berth.

"He was a multi-functional player we'd play as the complexion of the game changed," Bohlmann said of the varying assignments that put Bertrand in every field position.

After a playoff appearance in which the Sailors "played extremely hard and competitive," Bohlmann is looking ahead to a 2008 season where Steamboat will return all its starters, save these four all-league selections.

The Steamboat Pilot & Today staff nominated these same four players, in addition to Sailors junior forward Daniel Wright, for the first All-Western Colorado soccer team. The first and second team will combine the Western Slope's best players from Classes 3A, 4A and 5A, nominated and voted on by sportswriters from the Vail Daily, Glenwood Springs Post Independent, Grand Junction Free Press, Craig Daily Press, Montrose Daily Press, Durango Herald and Cortez Journal. The selections will be announced Thursday.

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