Steamboat lacrosse falls to No. 9 Rock Canyon

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— It’s a delicate balance the Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse team has to deal with.

Clearly an echelon above the rest of the programs in the Mountain Conference, Steamboat is rarely challenged by its mountain lacrosse brethren.

But then non-conference games like Saturday’s happen.

Steamboat showed it can hang with a top-10 team but proved it isn’t quite there, falling, 11-7, to No. 9 Rock Canyon.

“It was a really good experience for us,” Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. “I thought we did some things well. But we found out the intensity we need to play with at this level.”

The Jaguars jumped out to a 4-1 first quarter lead and led, 6-2, at halftime. Hiester said the slow start could have had to do with the road trip.

The game was scheduled to be played in Steamboat, but because Rock Canyon didn’t have transportation — players and parents would have had to drive themselves to the game — the location was switched.

Still, Hiester said the team cannot use the road trip as an excuse.

“When you play a team of that caliber, you have to start better,” Hiester said. “I thought we were slow starting. We haven’t played anybody of that caliber.”

Rock Canyon led, 9-3, after three quarters before Steamboat poured in four goals in the fourth quarter to close the gap.

Junior Lance Ostrom led the way for the Sailors with three goals and three assists. John Wharton had two goals and two assists, and Wilber Ranieri and Regan Walton each added a goal.

Hiester said despite the loss, the game was better for his team because of the competition. In the Mountain Conference, Steamboat (5-2 overall, 5-0 in conference play) rarely has been challenged, outscoring conference competition 71-10 in five games this year.

“That’s the challenge. We have to play all of our games like this one,” Hiester said.

“That’s hard. Athletes at times play down to their opponent. We do that sometimes. We have to keep our intensity level up.”

The lacrosse team next plays at 5:30 p.m. Friday at home against Grand Junction.

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

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

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