2011 Sailors boys lacrosse schedule
- March 11: Steamboat 19, Telluride 2
- March 12: Mountain Vista 7, Steamboat 3
- March 15: Steamboat 17, Eagle Valley 1
- March 18: Steamboat 15, Durango 1
- March 19: Steamboat 13, Aspen 5
- March 22: Steamboat 7, Summit 1
- March 26: Rock Canyon 11, Steamboat 7
- April 1: Steamboat 11, Grand Junction 4
- April 2: Steamboat 11, Fruita-Monument 3
- April 4: Grandview 13, Steamboat 12
- April 8: Air Academy 10, Steamboat 9
- April 9: Valor Christian 6, Steamboat 5
- April 15: Littleton 6, Steamboat 4
- April 27: Steamboat 16, Glenwood Springs 0
- April 29: Steamboat 9, Battle Mountain 2
- May 7: Rock Canyon 11, Steamboat 8,
Aspen Aspen boys lacrosse coach Mike Goerne deemed the effort “an incredible sign of progress.”
Still, there is no disputing who is king of the mountain.
The Skiers matched wits — and goals — with perennial Mountain Conference power Steamboat Springs for the final three quarters Saturday afternoon. They could not overcome another lackluster start, however, and Steamboat came away with a 13-5 win.
The Sailors struck for three goals in the game’s first 2 minutes, 45 seconds, and seven total in a dominant first quarter. Steamboat now is 4-1 overall and 4-0 in conference play.
Sailors forwards found plenty of room in which to operate and met minimal resistance from Aspen defenders in the early going. The combination resulted in a host of prime scoring chances.
Steamboat took advantage. Little more than 45 seconds into the game, Wilber Ranieri shook a defender with a strong cut to the middle, controlled a pass from Jackson Coe and fired a low liner past Skiers goaltender Daniel Ryerson.
Less than a minute later, Grant McCannon sneaked a shot inside the near post before being drilled by a defender. Teammate John Wharton increased the Sailors’ cushion soon after, when he found himself alone in front of the cage for an easy lay-in.
“We knew they would be a good team this year, so we wanted to come out right off the bat and play well and make sure we had the game under control,” Steamboat’s Erik Owen said. “I feel like when we have the lead, we play more comfortably and connect more passes.”
Owen joined in the scoring barrage with 5:33 on the clock, when he converted a wrister from about 10 yards out.
The Sailors seized control of the game with three more goals in the final 3:40 of the first quarter. Wharton and Ranieri converted again, and Lance Ostrom rifled one home from close range; Ryerson did not even have time to raise his stick.
Aspen (2-2) regrouped in the second quarter, scoring three of the game’s next four goals to pull to within five about 5:10 before halftime. Brendan Wagner provided the Skiers’ first score on an unassisted low liner, and then Peter Aresty connected twice mere steps from the Steamboat cage.
“We started off really well, but then we started doing a little running around and didn’t take care of the ball real well,” Sailors coach Bob Hiester said. “Maybe it was a factor of being a little greedy. When you start off like that, you think you can do more than you can. We had a couple defensive lapses. … We let them back in.”
For a few fleeting moments, anyway. Owen answered the Skiers’ surge with two goals in the final 3 minutes of the half — the last coming with 2 seconds on the clock — to help restore order.
Coe and Ranieri produced the lone scores of the third quarter, stretching the Steamboat lead to 12-3. The Sailors have outscored league opponents 64-9 this season.
Casey Hornberg and Aresty produced goals in the final quarter for Aspen, which could pull no closer than eight.
The Skiers dropped last year’s game against Steamboat, 17-1.
“For those last three quarters, we got physical and wanted the ground balls,” Goerne said. “They never gave up and never hung their heads.”
Aspen will look to snap its two-game slide at 4:30 p.m. Monday, when the Skiers host Grand Junction. The Sailors visit Summit at 4 p.m. Tuesday.