Steamboat boys lacrosse enters Mountain Conference

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Boys lacrosse schedule

11 a.m. Saturday vs. Summit

4 p.m. Monday vs. Glenwood Springs

3 p.m. March 14 vs. Summit

3 p.m. March 16 at Aspen

3 p.m. March 20 vs. Aspen

4 p.m. March 27 at Grand Junction

TBA, March 28 at Durango

3 p.m. March 31 at Battle Mountain

3 p.m. April 3 vs. Grand Junction

2:30 p.m. April 4 vs. Durango

4 p.m. April 7 vs. Eagle Valley

11 a.m. April 11 at Glenwood Springs

4 p.m. April 14 vs. Battle Mountain

4 p.m. April 16 at Eagle Valley

TBA, May 9 at state playoffs

Everyone has heard the expression so often used by coaches and athletes: one game at a time.

But with one look at the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse schedule and outlook, it's not hard to see why the phrase rolls off the lips so easy.

Steamboat is entering the first year of the Mountain Conference, which comprises teams from Summit, Glenwood Springs, Aspen, Grand Junction, Durango, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley.

The schedule means every game Steamboat plays this year is a conference game. With the winner of the conference likely to be the only team to make the playoffs, the one-game-at-a-time approach becomes pretty apparent.

"What you'd like to do is establish that dominance early," Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. "With Summit particularly, because that's a rival. We get them - bang, bang - two weeks in a row, and then we're done. Just for momentum, if we could notch some wins early, it gives our kids confidence, and everything goes from there."

Although Summit and Steamboat probably are the two favorites in the conference, Hiester said there are a lot of unknowns going into this season - primarily, what the conference will feature. The Grand Junction team includes players from all the area schools, while Durango has been one of the top club teams in the state.

"I have no idea about a lot of these teams," Hiester said. "The thing is, all those teams have been playing club lacrosse so it's not like this is their first time out. They've had a good club league."

Although Steamboat isn't as deep as it has been in years past, Hiester said the talent level is there.

At all three levels, the Sailors return starters, with Jasper Gantick leading the defense, Gus Worden anchoring the attack and the midfield line of Garret Ehrick, Tyler Samlowski and Drew Ruff providing two-way play.

"Since we don't know our opponents, we really have to take that game-by-game mentality," Gantick said. "We know Summit is tough since they beat us last year. We just have to come out and play our game. Every game is absolutely important. We have to win every game."

With no nonconference games, Steamboat has to get off to a fast start. That starts with Saturday's 11 a.m. game at home against Summit. Last year, Steamboat fell, 7-2, to the rival. The two teams meet up again March 14. Hiester said getting off to a fast start and establishing Steamboat as the team to beat in the conference will be paramount.

"We can't beat ourselves," he said. "Last year in many ball games, we beat ourselves. If we lose a game, we really have to make the other teams earn it."

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