Steamboat lacrosse defeats Summit |

Steamboat lacrosse defeats Summit

Sailors lacrosse win puts team in driver’s seat of conference

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs High School junior John Burrow, right, defends Summit High School's Shamus O'Neill during Saturday's game at Gardner Field. Steamboat won, 6-3.
Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs High School senior Andrew White looks for an open teammate during Saturday's game against Summit High School.Matt Stensland

— There is a less sexy, but just as important, element of an effective offense.

So although goals were sparse in Saturday's Steamboat Springs High School and Summit County High School boys lacrosse game, it was Steam­boat's efficiency on offense that helped the Sailors come away with a decisive 6-3 win at home.

The victory puts Steamboat atop the Mountain Conference. Steamboat is 5-1 overall and 4-0 in the conference. Fruita, Aspen and Summit are a game back.

The Sailors, defending Mou­ntain Conference champions, maintained possession for most of the day, kept the ball in the Tigers zone and had long, drawn-out possessions.

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Although the scoreboard didn't light up with regularity, the Sailors' effective offensive philosophy of maintaining possession and keeping the ball out of the Tigers potent offense made the game seem more wide open than it actually was.

"That was key today," Steamboat coach Bob Hiester said. "Possession is huge, especially in a ball game with their talent. We wanted to keep the ball away from them even though we're not scoring a lot of goals. We kept the ball out of our end."

And when there were brief lapses with the Steamboat offense, the Sailors defense made up for it with physical play.

Summit's Shamus O'Neill came into the game as one of the top scorers and most exciting players in the conference. O'Neill left Saturday's game with just a lone goal.

"You want to come out and get a hit or two, and you set the tempo for the rest of the game," Steamboat defenseman John Burrow said. "In the past we have had some letdowns man on man and off ball. This game was good. It's huge. It's always nice to beat Summit. They're our rivals. It's just nice to win in conference."

Summit jumped out to a short-lived 1-0 lead early in the game when Dylan Horan scored. Steamboat answered with two goals from Brian Bertrand to take a 2-1 lead. Summit's Brandon Mayor tied it at 2 before Steamboat's Grant McCannon and Bertrand finished the half with goals to send the Sailors to halftime with a 4-2 lead.

Bertrand extended it to 5-2 early in the third before O'Neill cut it to 5-3 at the end of the third.

Then in a sequence that reflected the whole game, Andrew White capped off a three-plus-minute Steamboat offensive possession with a goal to make it 6-3.

"We cut off the ball and kept rotating on offense so the defense kept moving," said Bertrand, who led all scorers with four goals. "They couldn't ball watch, and when they did, we took advantage."

Steamboat is now in control of the Mountain Conference and looks as if it is in position to grab the one guaranteed playoff berth from the conference.

The team resumes play at 2 p.m. Saturday at Lewis-Palmer, a team that eliminated Steamboat in the first round of the state playoffs last season.

"We'll just work hard," Hiester said. "This is a good bunch of kids. They've got a work ethic, and we have to keep pushing that. Our No. 1 goal, and we've talked about it all along, is to get better. There are places we'll improve on."