Steamboat Springs Aleigh Aurin takes a shot during Monday afternoon's girls lacrosse game at Gardner Field against Summit County.

Photo by John F. Russell

Steamboat Springs Aleigh Aurin takes a shot during Monday afternoon's girls lacrosse game at Gardner Field against Summit County.

Steamboat girls nearly upset Summit in return to varsity lacrosse

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Steamboat Springs Nikki Fry battles for the ball during Monday afternoon's girls lacrosse game at Gardner Field.

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Steamboat Springs Teagann Yeager tracks down a pass from a teammate during Monday afternoon's girls lacrosse game at Gardner Field. The Sailors, who were playing their first varsity contest since 2008, lost a hard-fought 9-8 contest to Summit County.

— The Steamboat Springs High School girls lacrosse team stepped onto the field as a varsity program Monday for the first time since 2008. The game ended with a 9-8 loss to the Summit High School Tigers, but on the field, the Sailors proved that the program can be competitive despite the loss.

“It was our first varsity game in four years,” Steamboat attack Aleigh Aurin said. “To come that close to tying them — that would have been a huge upset in the league.”

The more experienced Tigers looked to send a message to the upstart Steamboat Springs Sailors in the first half. Summit jumped out to a 7-3 lead behind four goals from top scorer Ivy Marshall and two from Kates Raymond. Anna Zangari also scored.

Steamboat’s Aurin scored the first two goals of the game for the Sailors — including the game-opening goal. Steamboat’s Sammie Cline also scored in the first half, but the Sailors trailed after the opening period.

In the second, the home team went on the offensive, outscoring Summit five goals to two in the final 25 minutes.

“It was a pretty good game for our girls, but we just couldn’t score in the second,” Summit coach Kristin Elliott said. Steamboat’s Hannah Hartley scored the first of two less than a minute into the second half. Steamboat also got help from Jessie Wallace, Aurin and Teagann Yeager who all scored in the second half.

Hannah Samlowski stepped up, making several key saves and finishing the game with 11.

But the Sailors could not stop Summit’s Marshall and Zangari who scored to help maintain the visitor’s two-goal lead throughout most of the second half.

With less than 2 minutes remaining in the game, Hartley scored for the second time and had the Sailors hoping to pull off the upset in their home opener. But the veteran Summit team was able to maintain possession of the ball as the clock ran down. Steamboat did have one last shot at tying the game on a last second run, but Aurin’s shot missed the target wide as time ran out.

“We are normally a pretty strong second-half team,” Elliott said after the game. “But our girls played hard, and I’m proud of the way they came together when the game was on the line.”

Summit now is 2-1 overall this season after winning games against Steamboat Springs at Gardner Field and Valor Christian (9-5) on March 12 in Summit County. The coach said she was happy with the way the team responded down the stretch and the way her players held off the late game rally by the Sailors despite less than ideal conditions on the field throughout most of the second half.

“You can’t blame the weather,” Elliott said. “Both teams had to deal with the snow.”

The game was the first of the season after playing scrimmages last week for the Sailors, and head coach Betsy Frick was happy with the way the team played in the opener and hopes the girls will continue to improve when they travels to face Fruita-Monument this Thursday.

“I’m thrilled,” Frick said. “This is our first varsity game we have had in four years and to stay with Summit, I was really proud of the girls. There are definitely things that we can improve on, but this is such a good start.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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