Steamboat Springs senior Carter Kounovsky, left, battles for a ball in Saturday's game against Delta. Steamboat went on to win, 4-2.

Photo by Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs senior Carter Kounovsky, left, battles for a ball in Saturday's game against Delta. Steamboat went on to win, 4-2.

Steamboat Springs boys soccer opens season with 4-2 win

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Steamboat Springs senior Peter White takes a shot Saturday against Delta. The Sailors won, 4-2.

— Considering the beginning, and what’s ahead Tuesday, Saturday’s 4-2 season-opening win against Delta gave the Steamboat Springs High School soccer team just a glimpse of what is possible.

There was good, especially in the first part of the first half where Steamboat was tenacious and creating opportunities at will.

There was OK, in that the game never quite got away from the Sailors as they controlled the tempo throughout.

There was bad, as in a couple of goalkeeper blunders that kept the Panthers in the game.

But all told, for the first game of the 2013 season, Steamboat was good enough and now looks to Tuesday as an early season-defining moment.

The team plays at 6 p.m. against rival and 2012 state champion Battle Mountain.

“We started good,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “The first 20 were really good. We did all the things right in the first 20.”

What was clear was that Steamboat will be more potent in the attacking third. The team deployed a multitude of creative players Saturday that created opportunities in the Delta box.

In the 16th minute, after Carter Kounovsky was taken down in the box, sophomore Jack Salyer put in a penalty kick to give Steamboat a 1-0 lead.

Although Steamboat had the run of play in the first half — bouncing three shots off the post and putting together several more solid buildups — Delta got the equalizer in the 37th minute.

Goalkeeper Jake Anderson whiffed on a pass back to him, and the own goal tied it at 1.

Still, Steamboat kept the pressure on, continually pestering Delta’s defense.

In the 39th minute, Salyer settled the ball and fired a shot from just outside the box onto goal. The Panthers’ keeper couldn’t handle the ball, and Charlie Beurskens headed in the rebound for a 2-1 lead.

Because of depth at the goalkeeper position, Steamboat was able to play Kounovsky up top along with a mix of Salyer, Beurskens, Ryan Walker and Peter White. The group constantly peppered Delta’s defense and keepers with keen runs and shots.

Beurskens again found himself in the right place again in the 56th, when White’s shot hit the crossbar and Beurskens headed it in again.

Another keeper mishap kept Delta in it. This time, the keeper couldn’t handle the ball, and Delta pounced on the rebound to cut it to 3-2.

No worries for the Sailors, however, as Kounovsky hit a beautiful ball to White in the 79th minute. White settled and eased one into the net for the final 4-2 result.

“We definitely have quite a few options up front,” White said. “That’s going to be tough to defend.”

Now, Steamboat looks toward Tuesday's match against Battle Mountain. When the schedules came out, this game always is circled. Considering that the Huskies are the defending champs — and opened as No. 1 in Class 4A — it all just adds a little more spice to the rivalry.

“I think there is a lot of urgency when the second game of the season is Battle Mountain-Steamboat,” Bohlmann said. “I think it’s pretty obvious Steamboat goes into that game that way. Every team will. That’s the weight Battle Mountain has to carry after last year.”

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

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