Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs High School soccer coach Rob Bohlmann was the first to admit that Steamboat got some breaks in its opening game of the season against Grand Junction Central.
But for a team that came into the year unsure of what it would be, and that wouldn’t publicly put out its goals, Saturday’s 6-0 home win has to feel pretty darn good.
Steamboat jumped out 4-0 in the first half on a pair of goals by Christopher Holmquist and never really let up.
“It’s Game 1 of 15,” Bohlmann said. “Obviously, we didn’t come away scratching our heads — we put six goals in the back of the net. It didn’t clearly answer the questions, but it did prove we can score goals.”
Sometimes that can be a problem for Steamboat. The Sailors typically are known for their possession style of play but at times have struggled to score.
Bohlmann said the goal Saturday was to play as much of the game as possible with 10 players in Grand Junction’s half of the field.
After a couple of close encounters — specifically in the 12th and 15th minutes, where Steamboat keeper Joey Haight had to make point-blank saves — Steamboat eventually found its stride.
It started in the 23rd minute, when Enrique Lopez dribbled through a gaggle of defenders and was tripped in the box.
Holmquist took the penalty kick and buried it for a 1-0 lead.
Then in the 35th, Holmquist struck again. With a free kick just outside the box, the senior sent a low laser inside the left corner for a 2-0 lead.
“That set the game right there,” Holmquist said. “I learned that from the Steamboat Soccer Academy. Instead of hitting it over the wall, go to the right side of the wall and the goalie hops the other way.”
Conor Garrecht-Connelly made it 3-0 in the 38th, outmaneuvering a pair of defenders.
Finally in the 43rd, Mac Noel received a pass in the box and had a wide-open goal to make it 4-0.
Ben Massey and Alex Bashan added late second-half goals for the result.
“They’re a 5A school, so it gives us a good feel about how we’re going to do,” Steamboat senior Brandon Marr said. “It gives us a feeling that we’ll come out strong. I’m pretty excited about the rest of the games.”
Bohlmann tempered those expectations a little, saying there certainly was more Steamboat could do.
The second half was a little ragged, with physical play on both sides.
But considering that Steamboat came into the game as a little bit of an unknown, Saturday’s score should open some eyes across the Western Slope League.
“We like the intensity in which we played with. We like the passion,” Bohlmann said. “We need to do a better job of managing a game for 80 minutes.”
Steamboat next plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Summit.
The team’s next home game is at 6 p.m. Thursday when the Sailors open their league schedule against Glenwood Springs.