Snow confined the Steamboat Springs girls soccer team to the gym Wednesday. The team's first game, set for Saturday, was postponed. The Sailors are scheduled to open Tuesday at home against Moffat County.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Snow confined the Steamboat Springs girls soccer team to the gym Wednesday. The team's first game, set for Saturday, was postponed. The Sailors are scheduled to open Tuesday at home against Moffat County.

Girls soccer team filled with youths

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2008 soccer schedule

Saturday vs. Eagle Valley, postponed, TBA

Tuesday vs. Moffat County, 5:45 p.m.

March 15 vs. Battle Mountain, 10 a.m.

March 18 vs. Glenwood Springs, 5:45 p.m.

March 21 at Delta, 4 p.m.

March 22 at Palisade, 11 a.m.

March 29 vs. Delta, 11 a.m.

April 1 vs. Rifle, 5:45 p.m.

April 5 at Eagle Valley, 11 a.m.

April 8 at Moffat County, 4 p.m.

April 10 at Glenwood Springs, 5:45 p.m.

April 12 vs. Palisade, 1:30 p.m.

April 15 at Battle Mountain, 5:45 p.m.

April 19 at Rifle, 11 a.m.

May 2 at Thomas Jefferson, 4 p.m.

May 7 First round playoffs completed

May 10 Second round of playoffs

May 17 State semifinals

May 20 State championship

— The Steamboat Springs High School girls soccer team has been consistently among the league's best for five years. Last season, the team followed a four-year, one-loss stretch in the Western Slope League with another strong showing and a second-place league finish.

Although that's all in the past, the Sailors will be counting on the ongoing strength of the program to help jump-start the 2008 season. Returning just two seniors and only six players who saw varsity minutes a year ago, Steamboat is hoping a little tradition can go a long way.

"It's a good pressure to have those high expectations," Steamboat Springs coach Rob Bohlmann said. "We inherently have the expectations with our reputation. It's kind of an inherited thing that before we even start, we'll be fighting for a league title."

What exactly the team will look like as it strives to match its previous success is a question still blanketed in deep spring powder. Bohlmann said he won't know what, exactly, he has until the team can stretch its legs in practice outdoors and in a few games, both events that don't appear imminent. The team has yet to practice outside, and its first game, scheduled to be played at home Saturday against Eagle Valley, has been postponed.

Still, those frustrations - combined with the team's inexperience and dearth of senior leaders - hasn't been enough to derail Bohlmann's optimism.

In his seniors, Miranda Schrock and Carly Earp, he said he sees essential and versatile tools. In his veteran goalkeeper, junior Hannah Berglund, he said he sees a vital safety net. In his burgeoning group of underclassmen, he said he sees enough skill to keep the team atop the league.

"We've got enough talent at the freshman and sophomore level," Bohlmann said. "They are good players, and they just want to get out and play. They haven't been around enough to really know the pressure."

The pressure instead has fallen more on the senior class. Both Schrock and Earp earned plenty of varsity minutes last year, and both will be valued for their flexibility - Schrock said she's lined up at nearly every position on the field in her three years on the team.

They also will need to fill the traditional roles of seniors.

"In all the other years, we had between six and 10 seniors. It's harder for us to show a lot more leadership since there are only two of us instead of a group," Schrock said. "We've been trying to show leadership and encourage younger girls to step it up."

With Saturday's postponement, the team's first game is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at home against Moffat County. The Sailors next welcome Battle Mountain on March 15, in a key early league game. Battle Mountain is Steamboat's top rival on the Western Slope and last year's league champion.

"We are putting the same pressure on ourselves to be the best we can be and to win the league again," Berglund said. "That's always the goal every year."

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