Steamboat's boys soccer team traveled to Moffat County on Tuesday for a Western Slope League contest against the rival Bulldogs, and the Sailors escaped with a 2-1 victory.
The teams appeared to be evenly matched for much of the first half, with the Sailors (2-1-1) and Bulldogs (2-1) swapping defensive stands. Steamboat seemed to find its groove when a shot ricocheted off the top of the Bulldog's goal, but Moffat County kept getting itself out of trouble.
It didn't last. With the first half coming to a close, Steamboat got on the board by way of an Enrique Lopez goal. Lopez stayed busy in the second half when he assisted on a Jonathan Roser goal to put the Sailors up, 2-0.
That's when Moffat County went to work.
Aggressive ball handling from Tracy Mendoza, Jorge Gonzales and Alex Perez kept the Bulldogs in Sailors' territory for most of the second half. Jose Olivarez found some room and capitalized deep in Sailor territory, scoring Moffat County's first goal.
But the Bulldogs could get no closer than 2-1, though they had plenty of chances. Late in the game, some fancy ball skills by Perez, a freshmen forward, nearly led to a tie. But like so many other Moffat County chances, this one also was rebuked by tough Steamboat defense.
"I didn't score," Perez said. "I was trying, but I couldn't. (The Sailors defense is) good. Fast and good."
Steamboat Springs coach Rob Bohlmann said Moffat County refused to give up.
"We had to work hard for everything," he said. "There wasn't an easy goal in the game."
Although his team managed to score twice on a relentless Bulldog defense, Bohlmann said his team still has some work to do.
"Craig has a good team, and they kept it tight with their defense," he said. "But we need to be more dangerous coming off our penalties. We had several opportunities to score, and we couldn't."
Moffat County coach Rusty Cox said his young team - only two seniors started the game - impressed him with its grit.
"Our defense was incredible today," he said. "They stepped up and were in their face today. But Steamboat's a good team, and this wasn't Rob's first win."
"There's no shame in losing a game 2-1," Cox continued. "Especially when it's against a team like Steamboat. Steamboat, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley are the teams expected to take the conference."