Steamboat coach Betsy Frick bet on her girls lacrosse team, now it’s paying off after asking for a harder schedule | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat coach Betsy Frick bet on her girls lacrosse team, now it’s paying off after asking for a harder schedule

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With a 3-5 record, the Steamboat Springs High School girls lacrosse team already can't match its record from last season, the best in program history when the Sailors finished the season 11-4.

Steamboat coach Betsy Frick said a simple glance at the record isn't nearly enough to tell the story of her squad this spring and playing Tuesday at Battle Mountain the squad showed it's making progress.

Progress Tuesday looked like a win against Battle Mountain, 14-10, the first ever in girls lacrosse for Steamboat against the Huskies.

"To go from 0-12 against a team to beating that team for the first time, that's big," Frick said.

Games between Steamboat and Battle weren't particularly close through the years. The Huskies won 16-3 in both of the match-ups during the 2015 season, a spring in which the Sailors owned just one game. Battle Mountain won a game in 2016, 20-4, but the Sailors started to narrow the gap last season, losing one of the team's two annual meetings 9-8 in overtime.

Steamboat started last spring 5-0 en route to that program-best record. It was a good enough season in Frick's eyes she decided to do something about it.

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"She asked if there was any chance we could increase the competition level of the schedule," Steamboat athletic director Luke DeWolfe said.

Most high school schedules are built out in two-year commitments. Those schedules get locked in stone (and contracts) in football, for instance, and monkeying around with a schedule in the middle of a two-year cycle is extremely difficult at best and often simply impossible.

Girls lacrosse schedules aren’t cemented in quite the same way, so DeWolfe was able to make some progress, but it came at a price. If the Sailors wanted to play harder teams, they'd need to play programs from the Front Range, and programs from the Front Range have enough local competition they don't often need to load on to a bus and drive four or five hours to play in Steamboat Springs.

Partially as a result, Steamboat's played its first eight games of this season on the road.

"If we want to play a more difficult schedule, our options are to travel, and sometimes that's in the best interests of the kids and the program," DeWolfe said.

Frick saw it as a necessary step for her team this year.

It hasn't resulted in a sparkling record. The team won two of its first three games this season, then lost four consecutive games, none of which were particularly close, falling to teams like Evergreen, 17-6 and Liberty, 17-6. Aspen, which defeated Steamboat 14-1, is a league opponent and on the schedule no matter what.

"The goal isn't just to win all your games, it's to get better," Frick said. "You get better by playing better teams."

The fruits of the decision to bump up Steamboat's scheduling may have begun to be harvested Tuesday.

The game with Battle Mountain was tied, 6-6, at half, and Steamboat was even sharper in the second half, doing it all while short three players from its typical starting lineup.

"In the second half we had the upper hand," Frick said. "It was fun, fun to watch them play. Every single person was out there working hard, and it was fun to see."

Sophomore Riley Schott scored eight goals, pushing her to 101 goals and 35 assists in her career.

Lucy Shimek scored four goals and Gabby DeMorat two. Shimek had two assists, and Sammy Kennedy and Alexa Paoli each had one. Ava Thiel racked up seven saves in goal for Steamboat.

That all could just be the start, too. Steamboat finished fourth in the eight-team Mountain League a year ago. It could be poised to do better than that this season, and it gets to do much of the rest of its work from home, starting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 4 against Summit.

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