Rob Bohlmann consults his team after Wednesday night's practice. The Steamboat Springs High School soccer team plays at 6 p.m. Thursday against defending state champ Battle Mountain.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Rob Bohlmann consults his team after Wednesday night's practice. The Steamboat Springs High School soccer team plays at 6 p.m. Thursday against defending state champ Battle Mountain.

Steamboat soccer ready for Battle Mountain's challenges

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— The real evidence came a month ago.

The Steamboat Springs High School soccer team on Sept. 3 went toe to toe with Battle Mountain, the defending Class 4A soccer state champion that — as of that game — was the winner of 21 consecutive games.

The Sailors weren’t intimidated.

So the jovial atmosphere that commanded the team’s Wednesday night workout shouldn’t come as a surprise. Thursday’s 6 p.m. home game is a big one for Steamboat, and the Sailors won’t enter the game flinching.

“We feel really good about it,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said.

That first game was a tough one for Steamboat, which led 3-1 midway through the second half and 4-3 with 30 seconds remaining. Battle Mountain rallied both times and eventually won the game in double overtime, 5-4.

Such tight, perhaps frustrating, outcomes have seemingly defined Steamboat’s stint in league play. The Sailors beat Eagle Valley, 2-1, in double overtime early this season, but lost to league-leading Summit last month in double OT, then tied Eagle Valley, 3-3 in a second overtime matchup between the two teams.

For Steamboat, though, it’s just more proof that among the Western Slope's top teams, there’s virtually no difference, and even though the team currently sits in third place, it can trade punches with and beat any team in the region.

“The thing that’s awesome about this group,” Bohlmann said, “they have the proper perspective. A lot of these seniors have been involved in competitive high school sports, and they’ve been in enough competitive environments to realize that you have to be resilient.”

Steamboat, 6-4-1 overall and 5-2-1 in the league, trails Summit, which finally ended Battle Mountain’s streak last week, 2-1, and the Huskies, who have otherwise been powerful again this season. Steamboat has games against both those teams, plus two more it already has beaten once, Palisade, 3-1, and Glenwood Springs, 2-0.

Steamboat still can climb back atop the league if it wins out, but perhaps even more importantly, a strong finish can ensure it one of the league’s automatic bids.

That starts with Thursday’s game against Battle Mountain.

From the beginning to the end — whether that be when the clock first expires, in overtime or double overtime — it all matters.

“If you look at our loss to Battle Mountain in overtime, our win against Eagle Valley in overtime, our loss to Summit and the tie against Eagle Valley, what you take away is that every moment is really important,” Bohlmann said. “Every possession matters, every transitional moment, every set play when things are this tight.”

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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