High school soccer, volleyball prep for big games

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Youth soccer night

All Steamboat Youth Soccer participants wearing their jerseys or who played Steamboat Youth Soccer will be admitted to today's game for free.

If you go

What: Steamboat soccer vs. Glenwood Springs

When: 5:45 p.m. today

Where: Gardner Field, Steamboat Springs High School

What: Steamboat volleyball at Moffat County

When: 6:30 p.m. today

Where: Moffat County High School

— A third of the way through the Western Slope League soccer schedule, the Steamboat Springs High School boys soccer team encounters its first must-win game of the year.

At 5:45 p.m. today, Steamboat welcomes Glenwood Springs to Gardner Field for a game that has as much impact on the league race as any.

The two teams played to a 0-0 tie earlier this month.

Considering the top four teams in the league - Steamboat, Glenwood Springs, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley - seemingly have all been playing to draws early in the season, Sailors coach Rob Bohlmann admitted Wednesday that today's game carries added importance.

"If you look at home-and-home with each opponent, we got a point at Glenwood for a draw," Bohlmann said. "Three points (for a win) puts us ahead of Glenwood if it comes down to any tiebreaker. There is a lot of the league to play out, but really right now indications are it's going to be a tight race. We look at it as a must-win."

In the first match-up between the Sailors (2-1-2 overall, 2-0-2 in league) and Demons (4-1-2, 2-1-1), both teams were without key players, but each had an opportunity to win the game.

Glenwood Springs, however, is fresh off of a 1-0 loss at Battle Mountain on Tuesday, when the goal occurred in the final three minutes of regulation. That loss, coupled with playing on the road, makes today's game a must-win for the Demons, as well.

Being at home gives the Sailors an edge. Steamboat traditionally struggles at Glenwood's small, narrow field. Gardner Field, though, should allow Steamboat to try to find scorers and open up its attack, something Bohlmann said must happen for the Sailors to win.

"It's really two things," Bohlmann said. "Can we get back on track after Saturday with composure of play and maintaining more possession? We feel obviously in the first game against Glenwood there was the ability to create more goal-scoring capabilities. That's really key to" today.

Volleyball preps for rivalry

Even as things appear to be rolling for the Steamboat Springs High School volleyball team, coach Wendy Hall urges caution about expectations.

Sure, the team is 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the Western Slope League, but it's far too early to believe anything has been determined.

Although the coach has liked what she has seen early, she said the success has to continue at 6:30 p.m. today at Moffat County.

"We're far from being able to determine who the front-runner is in this league," Hall said. "We have to be up and prepared to play our best against every opponent. If we do that, maybe we give ourselves a shot. We've got a lot of volleyball in front of us."

There might not be a better rivalry in the league than the Bulldogs and Sailors. Each team has had its share of wins the past couple of years.

Hall said playing on the road presents its challenges, especially in a hostile environment such as Moffat County's home gymnasium.

But with setter and outside hitter Colleen King looking healthy, the Sailors should have every chance to get off to a 3-0 start in the league and present themselves as one of the teams to beat. Steamboat next plays at 11 a.m. Saturday at Battle Mountain and at 5 p.m. Saturday against Eagle Valley.

Both games are at Battle Mountain.

"But we can't really start talking about Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley," Hall said, "until we get over to Moffat County (today) and take care of business."

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