Steamboat Springs Last season is last season, but the Steamboat Springs High School soccer team knows if it wants to reach its lofty goals, the lessons have to carry over.
The Sailors were 6-0 a year ago before faltering down the stretch and falling in the first round of the playoffs.
"We had a solid team last year, but we leveled off," senior goalkeeper Connor Birch said. "Last year was a learning lesson. We know what's expected of us."
What's expected, at least in the player's circles, is a lot. The Sailors have their eyes on a Western Slope League title and a home playoff game.
But to do that, coach Rob Bohlmann said, several things have to happen. In addition to learning from last year's squad, Bohlmann said the key component to Steamboat's season will be finding offensive playmakers.
The Sailors are deep in the back and middle thirds, but the problem still remains finding goal scorers.
"No. 1, who is going to answer the questions of who is going to be the goal scorers?" Bohlmann said. "Who are the players that are creative and dangerous in the attacking third to create those opportunities for themselves and others?"
Two of those players figure to be seniors Tony Rende and Andrew White. Rende predominately plays the forward position, and White will be slotted all across the field.
Each said finding scorers comes down to mentality and confidence.
"Once we get into the attacking third, we have to have an attacking mentality," White said. "We need to go to goal when we're in range. It's not forcing it, but it's getting out wide and going forward with it."
In addition to Steamboat, Glenwood Springs, Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain are expected to compete for a league title.
Bohlmann said going into the season, Battle Mountain is the early favorite, but the race is as wide open as it ever has been.
With Steamboat playing each team home and away, Bohlmann said Steamboat must get home wins and play better on the road.
Considering the playoff seeding committee hasn't been too kind to teams that don't win the Western Slope League title, finishing at or near the top of the league should be an early focus.
Expectations "are really high," senior Grant Murray said. "We feel that this group is going to do well. We connect well and have good chemistry."
In addition to Birch, Rende, White and Murray, Steamboat also returns seniors Colton Harding, Johnathon Ricker, Jose Gonzalez and Sam Glaisher.
Those eight seniors have Bohlmann thinking this year could be big for Steamboat.
"We want to do everything we can to warrant a home playoff game," he said. "With that we have to win the league or be a top challenger. Then, obviously, the other component is to show well in our other non-league games. The reality is, it comes down to the 15 games we have in our season and doing the best we can (in) each and every one."
- Saturday at Centaurus, 9 a.m.
- Tuesday at Glenwood Springs,
- Sept. 12 vs. Rifle, 11 a.m.
- Sept. 15 at Moffat County, 4 p.m.
- Sept. 19 vs. Battle Mountain, noon
- Sept. 24 vs. Glenwood Springs,
- Sept. 26 at Palisade, 11 a.m.
- Sept. 30 vs. Summit, 6 p.m.
- Oct. 3 at Eagle Valley, 11 a.m.
- Oct. 8 vs. Colorado Academy,
- Oct. 10 vs. Palisade, 11 a.m.
- Oct. 13 at Battle Mountain, 6:30 p.m.
- Oct. 17 at Rifle, 11 a.m.
- Oct. 20 vs. Eagle Valley, 5:45 p.m.
- Oct. 22 vs. Moffat County, 5:45 p.m.