Steamboat Springs soccer team begins another season

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— It never takes long to figure out what type of team the Steamboat Springs High School soccer team will be.

The names seemingly always change with roster turnover, but there is always the consistent possession-type soccer Steamboat covets.

Even as the team lost a strong part of its core to graduation — including stalwarts Enrique Lopez and reigning Western Slope Player of the Year Lance Ostrom — Steamboat again should field a top Western Slope team.

Knowing how good they will be may take some time.

“It’s, 'Can we play beyond expectations?'” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said.

Although Bohlmann wouldn’t reveal or discuss exactly what expectations are, if the past is any indication, we should have a good idea.

Compete for a league title and make the playoffs always are the baseline goals for the program.

The team returns junior Carter Kounovsky in goal. It also returns Peyton Trask, Peter White and John Vande Velde. Returning all-league player Mac Noel will miss the first half of the season but will return in the second half.

Bohlmann was coy in saying what type of team he has, and it seemed he wasn’t sure what would become of his team.

“We’re looking at our style of play and not changing anything drastic,” Bohlmann said. “We’re going to look to see how we can evolve with this group more efficiently.”

The strength, he said, would start in net. Kounovsky returns for his second year in net but is getting pushed by sophomore Jake Andersen. The good thing, Bohlmann said, is both are versatile enough to play in the field.

As far as the league goes, it’s usually Battle Mountain and Steamboat battling for supremacy. This year, however, Battle Mountain fields one of the better teams in all of Class 4A. In addition to plenty of returners, the Huskies add three foreign exchange players.

“Battle Mountain is tremendous,” Bohlmann said. “They’ll be the standard in the league.”

Steamboat should have a great shot at a playoff spot, and Bohlmann sounded confident in the team finding its identity sooner rather than later.

It all starts at 10 a.m. Saturday at home against Centaurus.

“Early in the season, it’s consistency,” he said. “Can we play the game in and out? Can we find that ebbing and flowing of the game?”

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

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