■ 7 p.m. Friday: Steamboat (1-1) vs. Moffat County (1-1)
It feels odd that this rivalry game is being played early in the season. Regardless, the impact still is there. Steamboat’s coming off its first win in two years, and Moffat is an improved version from last year. With the Western Slope League already starting to separate itself — Rifle and Palisade are a cut above — this game will have significance. The winner has a leg up on the middle of the pack.
■ 6 p.m. Thursday: Steamboat (3-1) vs. Summit (3-1)
It’s hard to think about playoff jockeying four games into the season, but this already has the makings. Battle Mountain is a class above the rest of the league, leaving Steamboat and Summit to jostle it out for second place. Today’s winner takes a clear advantage. It will be interesting to see how Steamboat bounces back from a 5-0 loss to Battle Mountain on Tuesday. The team needs to do so in a hurry, as Summit is no slouch.
■ 3:45 p.m. Friday: Steamboat at Heritage
The team had a quality showing at Battle Mountain last weekend and will get tested against one of the tougher fields Friday. The Liberty Bell Invitational draws a competitive field.
■ 4 p.m. Friday: Steamboat (2-4) vs. Aspen (3-1)
■ 10:30 a.m. Saturday: Steamboat vs. Evergreen (4-1)
After improvement at the Western Slope Open, the Steamboat tennis team hits the home stretch. Friday’s match with Aspen should be especially interesting. The Skiers remain one of the top road blocks to Steamboat’s quest for a 15th consecutive regional title. Friday should provide a preview.
■ 1 p.m. Saturday: Steamboat (3-3) vs. Summit (1-5)
Steamboat, after a solid showing at the Moffat County Tournament, will continue to try to round into form. The Sailors have been besieged by inexperience all year. The team still is trying to find the right combination of lineups as it enters Western Slope League play.
■ 7:30 p.m. Friday: Hayden (1-1) at Rocky Mountain Lutheran (0-3)
Regardless of last week’s 28-17 loss to Dayspring Christian, Hayden proved it belonged in the conversation of top 8-man programs. Rocky Mountain has struggled in three games this season, and Hayden should be able to cruise. Next week it’s Soroco.
■ 7:30 p.m. Thursday: Hayden (0-3) vs. Baggs, Wyo. (10-1-1)
■ 6 p.m. Friday: Hayden at West Grand (3-3)
After a tough opening tournament in Moffat County, Hayden looks to rebound against a pair of quality opponents. Baggs, despite its relative size, is always one of the toughest teams on the schedule. Things don’t get much easier with a trip to West Grand planned for Friday.
■ 7 p.m. Friday: Soroco (2-0) vs. Plateau Valley (0-2)
Soroco has been dominant, outscoring opponents 120-6 in two games. The team welcomes a limping Plateau Valley team that’s been outscored 98-8 in two games. Soroco again will look to go up early and pad its record to 3-0. The Rams should win this one and then can look forward to an 8-man showdown with Hayden the following week.
■ 6 p.m. Friday: Soroco (1-2) at Vail Christian (2-3)
■ 4 p.m. Saturday: Hayden at Rangely (4-1)
The Rams continue their trek through league play
with a pair of road tests. After a tough last week, Soroco will try to get back on the winning end of things. Although it’s early, the Rams have to be looking for at least a split.