Steamboat Springs Friday: Liberty Bell Invitational at Littleton
The Sailors will be looking for their best performances of the year at one of the biggest races of the season. The team’s workouts have tapered down this week to allow them to hit the Front Range course at full strength. They won’t be able to measure themselves against much regional competition — only Glenwood Springs will join Steamboat from the Western Slope — but some of the state’s best will be in the race challenging the Sailors.
Saturday: Steamboat vs. Aspen and Vail Mountain at Aspen
Saturday’s trip to Aspen will be revealing for the Sailors, who could end up in a crucial battle with the Skiers. The two intense tennis rivals frequently finish 1-2 at the regional tournament, with Aspen taking the “1” last year to snap a long streak of Steamboat dominance. Retaking the regional title is the top goal for the Sailors this season, and how they perform Saturday, particularly against Aspen, should be a good indicator of how their quest is coming.
1 p.m. Saturday: Steamboat at Summit
The Sailors will try to build on the success they’ve found in early-season tournaments Saturday when they begin their season in earnest with a trip to Summit in their first league game of the year. Coach Wendy Hall cited mental effort as the team’s shortfall in its only loss in last weekend’s tournament at Moffat County. That trait will be tested early and often this season, especially against Summit, which won 3-1 at home last year to split the 2012 season series with Steamboat.
7 p.m. Friday: Hayden vs. Rocky Mountain Lutheran
The Tigers, 1-1, will need to get tough against the run if they’re to bounce back after last week’s out-of-hand loss to Dayspring Christian. Dayspring galloped for 300 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, and at its best, Rocky Mountain Lutheran can put up those same kind of numbers.
The Eagles lost big against Hayden a year ago, but started this season 2-0 before a 52-18 loss last week against Vail Christian. In the team’s wins, junior tailback Aaron Spaude has averaged 202.5 yards per game.
1 p.m. Saturday: Soroco at Plateau Valley
Plateau Valley hasn’t proven any problem for the Rams in recent years, and this year might not be an exception to that trend. The Cowboys enter Saturday’s game 0-2, having lost a pair of lopsided games.
So the opportunity is about taking care of business first, then fine-tuning for Soroco, 2-0, which admittedly has one eye on the Sept. 20 matchup with cross-county rival Hayden. The Rams varsity players didn’t have a ton of room to improve last week in a trouncing of Justice, though the team did miss several deep passes. Get that dialed in and the Hayden game should be a doozy.
6 p.m. Friday: Soroco at Beth Eden Baptist
5 p.m. Saturday: Soroco at Plateau Valley
It’s a weekend of opportunity for the Rams, who after starting the season 0-3, could use a jump-start. Beth Eden accounted for one of Soroco’s two victories a year ago, with the Rams winning that early season match in four games. Pulling out a win on the road Friday night would be an important accomplishment for a team early in the process of building with a new coach.
Both weekend matches are hurdles, and the Saturday trip to Plateau Valley is the larger of the two. The Rams could make a statement with a strong showing in the weekend’s second match.
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9
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