Steamboat soccer inconsistent in ’08, No. 1 in ’09 | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat soccer inconsistent in ’08, No. 1 in ’09

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs soccer player Andrew White hugs his mother, Katie, while his dad, Brian, watches Thursday when the seniors were introduced during halftime of their game against Moffat County High School. The win against the Bulldogs helped the Sailors clinch the league title for the first time since 2001.

Andrew White was on tilt. The Steamboat Springs High School senior soccer player may have been the worst poker player in town Thursday after Steamboat beat Moffat County, 3-0.

While waiting for the Battle Mountain-Eagle Valley game to finish so they could find out whether Steamboat had won a Western Slope League title, White, Johnathon Ricker and Colton Harding played poker.

Coach Rob Bohlmann “called us when it went into overtime, and we were freaking out,” White said. “I played really bad. I wasn’t able to keep my mind on my hands, ever. But it was a good feeling.”

That feeling only got better when Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley played to a scoreless draw, giving Steamboat its first league title since 2001.

But the road to the title started much earlier for the Sailors. The real story began last season.

The 2008 campaign started well for Steamboat. The Sailors fired out to a 7-0 record and looked like the class of the league. But inconsistent play down the stretch left Steamboat with third in the league and a first-round playoff exit.

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“We got to a point where it leveled off,” senior Sam Glaisher said. “The end of the season went downhill. This year we came in with that focus. We wanted to peak at the end.”

Steamboat seemed to do that.

After the team struggled to find the net and played to a draw against many league opponents, things started to come together.

It started after a 2-1 loss against Summit in late September.

By their own accounts, the Sailors didn’t play well. They left the pitch feeling and knowing they were the better team.

From there, Glaisher said, the team knew what it had to do if it wanted to win the league and potentially host a first-round playoff game.

The results on the field weren’t up to the athletes’ expectations.

After that loss, Steamboat finished the season on a tear.

The Sailors went 5-0-1 in their last six and started looking like a team that was the class of the league.

“We just never give up,” White said. “We’re inconsistent sometimes. But we never lose that momentum. We don’t lose the thing that helps us get that goal. We’re always fighting is the best way to describe it.”

That’s why the Sailors aren’t satisfied with just winning the league title. Although the team isn’t sure whether it will host a home playoff game, the goal now is clear.

Steamboat will find out today where the team will be in the first round of the playoffs, when the Colorado High School Activities Association releases the seeds. Although the Sailors will probably play a team they’ve never seen, at this point Steamboat feels like it’s not about the opponent. Rather, it’s what the Sailors do.

“Right now we’re peaking and still getting there,” White said. “We still have a lot to prove.”