Steamboat lacrosse loses two on Front Range

Sailors are undefeated in league but have struggled outside of it

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— If only the Steamboat Springs High School lacrosse team could find a way to get over the hump.

Steamboat, the class of the Mountain League, lost a pair of one-goal games during the weekend to two Front Range teams. Steamboat lost, 10-9, on Friday against Air Academy, before falling, 6-5, in overtime to Valor Christian on Saturday.

“We’re making errors on both ends of the field that end up costing us,” Sailors coach Bob Hiester said. “What this says is we can play with any of these teams, but we’re not finishing.”

Saturday’s one-goal loss was Steamboat’s third in a row to a Front Range team. For a Sailors team that has its sights set on winning its first playoff game in program history, the weekend was a telling story of what lies ahead.

Steamboat is now 7-5 overall with all wins coming against Mountain Conference opponents. The Sailors are 0-5 on the season against Front Range opponents. In those five games, Steamboat has been outscored 47-39.

“We can do things against Mountain Conference teams that when we do that down here, we pay for that,” Hiester said. “We’re playing hard, and they’re down. People recognize we probably should have won both these games this weekend. They took it to heart. But again, we need to finish.”

Against Air Academy, Steamboat took a 5-4 lead into the fourth quarter before allowing six goals in the final frame. The Sailors were down 10-8 and scored with 22 seconds remaining but couldn’t cap off the comeback.

Saturday’s game was eerily similar. Steamboat led after each quarter and had a 5-4 lead heading into the fourth. Steamboat gave up the equalizer, and Valor was able to score in overtime to get the win.

Steamboat next plays at 4:30 p.m. Friday at Littleton. The team winds down its season with two more Mountain Conference games, against Glenwood Springs and Battle Mountain.

The game against Battle Mountain likely will decide the conference championship and which team gets an automatic bid to the playoffs.

Hiester said his team is understandably down after the weekend, but he emphasized the importance of the final three weeks.

“This is the rest of the season,” Hiester said. “The season is winding down, and we can’t overlook anybody. What this does is it accentuates your mistakes. When you win, you can slop them off. When you look at the cumulative mistakes, they add up. But we played well, though these were teams we should have beat.”

— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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