Steamboat senior Nikki Fry battles for a loose ball Saturday against Durango. Steamboat lost the game, 10-8, but celebrated the program's progress afterward.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Steamboat senior Nikki Fry battles for a loose ball Saturday against Durango. Steamboat lost the game, 10-8, but celebrated the program's progress afterward.

Steamboat girls lacrosse says farewell to key senior class

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— It wasn’t exactly a fairy tale ending. The Steamboat Springs High School girls lacrosse team lost its final game of the season, falling at home, 10-8, against Durango on Saturday morning.

That detail didn’t get in the way for the Sailors, and after the game ended, they celebrated a senior day like they’ve never seen with 10 girls reflecting on a path few could have envisioned.

There wasn’t even a girls lacrosse program when the class walked into Steamboat Springs High School as freshmen. One previously had petered out and had yet to be brought back to life in its current version. Coach Betsy Frick helped spearhead the squad’s growth from nothing, and she found the building blocks for that job in this senior class.

“They were huge. None of them had ever played. They had barely even touched a stick,” Frick said. “They went from 100 percent novices to a really solid, competitive team.”

Some were fixtures from the first day. Others came along later, some in the first two years when the team was a junior varsity program. The team grew last year when it attained varsity status. A few seniors didn’t even join until this year.

“When I was a freshman, my mom said I had to play a sport,” said senior Aleigh Aurin, who scored four goals Saturday. “I had some friends who started playing. None of them stuck with it, but I’m glad I did.”

The team was good, not great, on Saturday, though members were happy to point out their 6-9 final record was a big step from their winless introduction to varsity play a year ago.

The game was tied 4-4 at half, with Nikki Fry scoring twice and Sammie Cline and Aurin once each to help the team keep pace. The teams continued to trade blows into the second, and Aurin put the Sailors ahead, 6-5, when she scored on a pass from Cline, also a senior.

Durango, with goals from six players in the game, eventually retook the lead and, as time ticked away, managed to pad it. Aurin scored one more, then set up Jessie Wallace with a pass for a quick score late in the game.

It wasn’t enough to win, and that was a bit of a letdown. Frick said it was a game Steamboat could have had if the ball had bounced a different way a few times.

On Saturday, though, that didn’t seem so important.

“I’m really proud of us,” Aurin said. “We are the first group to go through all four years, so it's a big deal to us.

“Even from the beginning of this year, we improved so much. We learned how to be a team. It’s been really awesome to see all of us come this far from having never held a stick before.”

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

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