Steamboat Springs High School's Enrique Lopez tries to control the ball during Saturday's game against Centaurus High School in Steamboat.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School's Enrique Lopez tries to control the ball during Saturday's game against Centaurus High School in Steamboat.

Slow first half dooms Steamboat soccer

Sailors lose 4-2 at home to Centaurus

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— Play consistent, and good things usually happen on the soccer field.

But as the Steamboat Springs High School soccer team learned Saturday — and throughout much of the season in losses — one half of soccer doesn’t constitute that consistency.

Centaurus got the early run of play and three first-half goals Saturday against Steamboat, walking away with a 4-2 win at Gardner Field.

“We weren’t happy with the entire first half with our mental effort,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “We had no cohesiveness. It was get the ball at your feet and see if we can barrel through them. There was no work off the ball. We allowed them to completely outmatch us in the entire first half.”

From the start, Centaurus looked like the team more ready to play.

Jose Silva got the Warriors going with a rebound goal for a 1-0 lead.

Luke Niccolls and Ramiro Rodriguez also added first-half goals for Centaurus to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead going into halftime.

“I don’t know what happened,” Steamboat senior Bran­don Marr said. “It was pitiful, horrible play.”

Niccolls, who controlled the pace of play for Centaurus from his forward position all day, fed Drew Kerigan in the 44th minute to give the Warriors a 4-0 lead.

But that’s when Steamboat started to turn things around.

The Sailors started to win possession and get good looks up the middle of the field.

In the 55th, Enrique Lopez received a great ball up the middle and slipped an easy goal in for a 4-1 deficit.

Then in the 72nd, Lopez’s cross on a free kick deflected off Marr’s foot and in for a goal.

“The good thing is this hasn’t been a trend or pattern of not starting out sharp,” Bohlmann said. “But it has to be a lesson for us. We won’t be able to be a contender in league if we don’t start well. But the league is wide open. It’s not out of our control. What happens in league is in our control.”

That might be the key as the Western Slope League schedule hits the halfway point.

Even at 4-3-1 overall and 2-2 in league play, Steamboat is right in the thick of things for the league title and a state playoff spot. With chances to still split with league leader Battle Mountain — who dropped a 1-0 contest to Glenwood Springs on Thursday — Steamboat still controls its destiny in the league.

Finding that consistency, however, will go a long way in determining where Steamboat finishes.

“That was like night and day,” Marr said. “It was pitiful and then we played fantastic. For as far as playing whole games, usually we pride ourselves on coming out strong and finishing strong. We just couldn’t find it this time. It’s disappointing, but we have opportunities coming up.”

Steamboat next plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday at home against Palisade.

— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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