Steamboat’s Michael Wong and Summit’s Daniel McFadden chase down a ball Thursday during a soccer game in Steamboat Springs. McFadden and his teammates won more battles for loose balls than they lost, helping pave the way to a 1-0 victory for the Tigers.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat’s Michael Wong and Summit’s Daniel McFadden chase down a ball Thursday during a soccer game in Steamboat Springs. McFadden and his teammates won more battles for loose balls than they lost, helping pave the way to a 1-0 victory for the Tigers.

Steamboat soccer falls to Summit, 1-0

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— Sluggish, frustrated, unfocused: Whatever the best word, on Thursday night, the Steamboat Springs High School boys soccer team couldn’t shake what’s suddenly ailing it, losing its second consecutive game.

The Sailors fell at home to Summit, 1-0, struggling throughout the contest to break through the Tigers defense. Where a week ago the Sailors crushed opponents with a machine-like passing attack, on Thursday, those passes were weak, and the team’s shots on goal were rare.

“We tried different combinations, but we couldn’t quite find it today,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said.

The loss drops Steamboat to 3-2 on the season and adds weight to Friday’s 6 p.m. showdown at Palisade. The Bulldogs are 2-2 and also recently lost to Summit, falling, 3-2. On paper, it’s a challenging matchup for the Sailors. Playing with whatever funk the team possessed Thursday and, probably even more important, playing for the third time in four days, the game stands as a true hurdle.

On Thursday, Steamboat simply couldn’t move the ball downfield. Any explanation as to why has to start with Summit, which matched the Sailors’ burners with able defenders step for step on any long passes.

Meanwhile, every attempt to piece together a ball-control passing game also was foiled. Whether that was a product of a sloppy and off night or an aggressive defense depended on who was doing the evaluating.

“The most important thing was our pressure,” Summit coach Tommy Gogolan said. “We had a lot of good pressure, and that really disrupted Steamboat’s momentum.”

Bohlmann agreed, but he saw plenty of flaws in his own team’s approach.

“The mental engagement was not there today,” Bohlmann said. “We couldn’t take care of the ball. We were just sloppy.”

Summit got its goal midway through the first half when Alex Roque crossed a ball in front of the goal. Bryan Daniel knocked it down with his head, then plugged it in with his foot for the game’s only score.

The Tigers continued to push the pace, sweeping up Steamboat drives and charging the other way. It never again resulted in a goal, but it kept the Sailors off balance and limited their possession time.

As for Friday at Palisade, Steamboat can only hope to be better.

“It’s about recomposing and going out and playing sharper,” Bohlmann said. “Then hopefully we can turn things around, then get into training next week and regroup.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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