Charles Toye looks to strip the ball from the Aspen midfielder in Steamboat’s game against Aspen.

Shannon Lukens/Courtesy

Charles Toye looks to strip the ball from the Aspen midfielder in Steamboat’s game against Aspen.

Steamboat Springs boys lacrosse team loses 1st league game

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— Just as many teams across the Front Range realized the moment would happen, Steamboat Springs High School boys lacrosse coach Bob Hiester knew this one eventually would come, too.

For the first time in five seasons, dating back to the inception of the Mountain League in 2009, Steamboat lost a league game.

The Sailors had won 39 straight, reeling off four consecutive undefeated league seasons.

But in a matchup of two top 4A teams, Aspen used a big second half to pick up a 9-6 win.

The Skiers, ranked No. 8 in the Denver Post poll, overcame a 4-2 halftime deficit to pick up the win.

“We knew that from the beginning,” Hiester said. “The whole conference is going to get better. Aspen, Battle Mountain, Summit — these teams are getting better. In large part, it’s because of us. They’ve seen what we’ve done and how we’ve done it and emulated it.”

Steamboat, which had moved up to No. 2 in the Post poll, seemed lackadaisical from the beginning.

Hiester said that during warmups, the team wasn’t sharp, and that carried over to the beginning of the game. Still, the Sailors were able to turn a 1-all tie after one quarter into a 4-2 halftime lead.

But the Skiers were the better team in the second half. Aspen tossed in three goals in the third quarter while holding Steamboat scoreless to take a 5-4 lead.

Aspen scored four more in the fourth quarter for the end result.

Alex Elliott and Mitch McCannon each had a goal, while Thomas Tarcha and Ben Wharton had two.

Peter White had four assists for the Sailors.

“It brings us back down,” Hiester said. “We have to know we cannot walk on the field and win the ballgame because of who we are. That’s been the case sometimes. There were times where we were clearly a better team athletically and with stick skills. Lacrosse is growing around the state and especially in these part of the mountains.”

It will be interesting to see how Steamboat responds. The Sailors had been the class of the Mountain League for four-plus seasons. Wednesday marked the first time the team had to wake up and deal with a loss.

“I hope (we respond) real positively,” Hiester said. “We have to suck it up and go back to work. We talked, and we’re still a very good lacrosse team. We didn’t play our best game and paid for it.”

Steamboat (2-1 overall, 1-1 in league play) next plays at 3 p.m. Friday against Durango in Grand Junction. The team also plays at 11 a.m. Saturday against Telluride in Grand Junction.

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

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