What happened: Steamboat was flying high after a big season-opening win, but a loss Saturday to a red-hot Palisade squad grounded the Sailors quickly.
What does it mean: Palisade let it be known with two big wins to start its season that it is the team to beat in the Western Slope. The squad knocked off Steamboat just after taking out two-time defending league champion Glenwood Springs. Steamboat was far from blown out of the game, however, and just missed on several opportunities to tie things up.
What’s next: Steamboat plays at 3 p.m. Tuesday at home against Grand Junction.
What happened: Steamboat improved seemingly even as the first week of the season went on. It lost big in the season opener but picked up its first win since regaining varsity status before last season, knocking down Liberty on Thursday. Coach Betsy Frick said the team was even better Friday in a close loss to Pine Creek. Nikki Fry scored 13 goals in the Thursday-Friday road trip to lead the team.
What does it mean: The Sailors struggled mightily a year ago in their first varsity season, but it’s looking like those lumps might have paid off in a savvy, veteran team capable of an improved record. It’s too early to know how it will all shake out, but the early signs are promising.
What’s next: The Sailors continue their road trip with a stop Monday night in Aspen.
What happened: Steamboat flexed its muscle Friday in a season opening stomping of Eagle Valley. The team then picked up a nice win against Green Mountain on Saturday, 7-3. Dane Dixson scored four to lead the team Friday, and Peter White and Mitch McCannon each had two to lead Saturday.
What does it mean: Steamboat was ranked No. 3 in the Denver Post’s preseason poll, so they’ll need more weekends like the first one if they’re to live up to that tip-top billing. Fans have to like the intensity the team played with, even in a game few expected to be close against Eagle Valley.
What’s next: The Sailors play at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Aspen.
What happened: The Sailors got wins up and down the lineup against Durango, again asserting their dominance against teams from the region. Maddie Labor and Hanna Haggarty, playing at No. 3 doubles, and Katie Spencer and Malia Fraioli, at No. 1 doubles, helped lead the way Friday and Saturday in the Western Slope Open tournament. The No. 3 doubles team finished third, and the No. 1 squad was fourth.
What does it mean: Coach John Aragon said Steamboat was close to placing several more entries in the tournament, but his girls ended up on the wrong end of several close matches. There is plenty of time this season to iron out any difficulties.
What’s next: Steamboat travels March 29 to Poudre.
What happened: Steamboat led 4-0 in the seventh inning, but Hotchkiss battled back to tie things up and force an extra frame, where it then won.
What does it mean: Well, that’s not quite the way you want to start a season. Starter Jesse Pugh pitched a good game, but everything for the Sailors seemed to unravel in the end. The bright side is there are that errors can be fixed and there’s plenty of time for the team that led big late in the game to emerge on a more regular basis.
What’s next: Steamboat plays Saturday at Eagle Valley in Craig.