Photo by Matt Stensland
Steamboat Springs High School lacrosse player Chase Grippa takes a shot during Saturday's match against Summit County High School. Steamboat won, 8-5.
Steamboat Springs It's only one game, but everything seems to be going in the right direction for the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team.
Opening the season against rival and chief Mountain League foe Summit on Saturday, Steamboat avenged a 7-2 loss from last year, starting fast in an 8-5 win.
"We knew they were going to come out hard, so we had to come out harder and get up early," said junior Garret Ehrick, who scored two goals for Steamboat and dominated the faceoff circle. "We just wanted to show our dominance from the beginning. We wanted to show we're the team to beat, and we did that right from the beginning."
At least early on, Steamboat looked like the class of the league.
The Sailors got three first-quarter goals from Ehrick, Tyler Samlowski and Jonathan Ricker to take an early 3-1 lead.
Ehrick, Gus Worden and Chase Grippa added second-quarter goals to extend the Steamboat lead to 6-2.
Except for Summit's man-up tallies from Shamus O'Neill and Brandon Major, Steamboat dominated nearly every part of the first half.
"It's what it is," Summit coach Mike O'Neill said. "You can make all the excuses you want, but these guys picked up more ground balls (Saturday). They outplayed us and deserved to win."
In the third quarter, the teams traded goals - Steamboat's by Jack Spady and Summit's by Sam Dudick - before things started to get interesting in the fourth quarter.
After Max O'Neill scored to cut the Steamboat lead to 7-4, Steamboat responded with a Jackson Coe goal to go up 8-4. With less than four minutes remaining, Shamus O'Neill added his second tally to cut the lead to three at 8-5.
But like the team did all day, Steamboat won most of the ground balls and maintained possession to end the game.
"We're doing more things better at this time of year than we have done midseason in other years," Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. "It's neat. It's fun."
Now Steamboat prepares for a 4 p.m. game Monday at home against Glenwood Springs. Hiester said he doesn't know a lot about Glenwood because the team is new to lacrosse this year. Regardless, Hiester said if Steamboat plays like it did Saturday, the Sailors will be tough to beat.
"We got off right away," Hiester said. "I think that's the character of the team. It's got a good chemistry. Overall, it was a good ball game. I was very happy."