Sailors pick up third straight victory

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— Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse coach Bob Hiester considers ground balls won and ground balls lost the most significant statistics in the sport.

It's no wonder that during Steamboat's current three-game winning streak - Steamboat pounded Englewood, 17-0, on Friday - the Sailors have been dominating battles for ground balls.

"To me, that's the most important thing. It's the statistic they keep at any level of lacrosse," said Hiester, whose team picked up 44 ground balls to Englewood's 10 on Friday. "You watch the Division I National Championship game, and that's the statistic they show after each quarter. It's such an integral part of the game."

With Friday's victory, Steamboat has outscored its past two opponents, 30-1. Hiester said a big portion of that has been the Sailors buying into the motion offense. Friday, eight players scored goals, including four apiece from Chase Grippa and Kevin Bertrand.

"It's really picked up," Hiester said. "Early on, we were doing so much standing, which is so easy to defend. Now, we're getting motion to put pressure on the defense."

Gus Worden added three goals and three assists, John Burrow added two goals and Garret Ehrick, Logan Lightfoot, Bryan Bertrand and Bryce Peters each scored a goal.

Coming into this week, with games against Conifer and Englewood, Hiester said he admittedly was nervous, knowing the week was set up for a letdown.

"We didn't letdown," Hiester said. "The other thing we didn't do is when you get to a team you can really dominate, you start to see a lot of 1-on-1. That didn't happen. We were playing team lacrosse."

Now, Steamboat turns its attention to Summit.

The two Western Slope teams meet up at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Gardner Field.

Hiester said it's a big game, considering Summit should be better than Conifer and Englewood. Summit's also a big lacrosse rival with Steamboat.

"We'll look at the video and say, 'Here are things we have to do better,'" Hiester said. "We can't be the same. You either improve or get worse. Our goal is to improve all the time."

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