Steamboat Springs Finding consistency for a lone quarter in possibly the biggest game of the season just won't get the job done.
That lack of consistency might have cost the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team a chance at the playoffs. Steamboat fell to Wheat Ridge, 11-5, on Friday at Gardner Field, making the Sailors' fledgling playoff hopes even slimmer.
Save for the second quarter, where the Sailors outshot the Farmers, 10-2, and scored the quarter's lone two goals, Steamboat struggled to find any sort of rhythm for most of the game.
"We didn't play as well as we needed to," Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. "Plus, that's a good lacrosse team. That's a bad combination for us."
In what's become an all-too-familiar sight, the Sailors found themselves fighting back right from the opening minutes.
The Farmers put up four goals in the first quarter, including two man-up goals.
"The penalties hurt us," said Hiester, whose team allowed Wheat Ridge to go up a man eight times. "We took some dumb penalties and didn't capitalize on our man-up opportunities."
Steamboat finally awoke from its slumber in the second quarter, when sophomore Tyler Samlowski drove the right side and bounced in a left-handed shot to cut the lead to 4-1. The Sailors dictated play - and possession - for most quarter. Despite a stretch of six consecutive shots, Steamboat still found itself down three goals.
Finally, with 2 minutes, 12 seconds remaining in the half, senior Bryce Peters drove the left side of the box and rocketed a shot into the top corner, sending the Sailors into halftime with just a 4-2 deficit.
In the third quarter, the two teams traded goals, with Wheat Ridge bookending its scores around a Steamboat goal by Chase Grippa.
Grippa was pinned between two Farmers defenders just outside the crease, but somehow managed to sneak a shot just over Wheat Ridge goalie Sander Aplet's shoulder.
But that was as close as Steamboat would get. Grippa and Kevin Bertrand added late goals for Steamboat, but the Wheat Ridge defense and movement on offense was just too much.
"Coming in against Steamboat, we were fairly blind," Wheat Ridge coach Chris Knott said. "We just wanted to come out and play our game, which we did in the first and fourth quarters. We gave them opportunities in between for them to climb back into the game, but we shut them down. I couldn't ask for more from our guys."
Steamboat now prepares for a 10 a.m. home game today with conference opponent Mountain Range - a program in just its second year.
Hiester said while the game was "disappointing," it's got to be the furthest thing from Steamboat's mind heading into today.
"It's just one of those ball games," Hiester said. "I told the kids, 'we'd like to have it back.' But we have to get ready to play another one" today.