Steamboat Springs High School junior Enrique Lopez weaves through a pack of Glenwood Springs players during a Sept. 9 match. Steamboat plays at 6 p.m. today against Moffat County at Steamboat Springs High School.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School junior Enrique Lopez weaves through a pack of Glenwood Springs players during a Sept. 9 match. Steamboat plays at 6 p.m. today against Moffat County at Steamboat Springs High School.

Undefeated Steamboat, Moffat to battle on soccer field today

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— It’s not necessarily a week where the Western Slope League will be won.

But it’s certainly one where the Steamboat Springs High School soccer team could either announce itself as the early favorite or fall into the chase pack.

Steamboat (3-0-1 overall and 1-0 in league) plays at 6 p.m. today against Moffat County before traveling for a game against Battle Mountain at noon Saturday.

“I mean, I hadn’t really looked that far ahead of things until” Tuesday, Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “Then, it’s Moffat, Battle Mountain and Glenwood next week. But it’s nothing magic. You look at it one day at a time. Right now, all the focus is on us and Moffat.”

In years past, it might have been the Saturday game at Battle Mountain that drew all the attention. But Moffat is 4-0 overall and sits tied with Battle Mountain, also 4-0, at the top of the league.

The Bulldogs come into the game already having beaten two Class 5A opponents, and senior Tracy Mendoza has 12 goals in the four games, including 11 in the past week.

Whereas in years past, Steamboat usually has the better of the rivalry, Moffat looks like a team that could make a run at a league title.

The key for Steamboat will be getting a quick start. If the Sailors are able to score early and put that doubt in the Bulldogs’ heads, it could make for a quick evening. But the longer Moffat stays in the game, the better its chances.

“That’s certainly the intent,” Bohlmann said. “To be able to start the game where you get the opposition to chase the game instead of you chasing the game. It’s what looks to be two really strong groups going in.”

Bohlmann wouldn’t put too much on today or Saturday’s game, however. Considering the reworked league, all the league games carry more importance. With Rifle dropping down a classification, each team in the Western Slope will play 10 league games instead of the usual 12.

That’s two fewer chances for a league championship that came down to the final day last season.

“Every game is going to be critical,” Bohlmann said. “Last year, the results came down to the final game. The league title came down to the final game. Right now, it’s looking at” today.

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