Boys lacrosse drops Thompson Valley in top-10 battle
April 6, 2016
Steamboat Springs — From sluggish third quarters to costly penalties, there often has been something plaguing the Steamboat Springs High School boys' lacrosse team this season.
Wednesday against Thompson Valley, however, the No. 7-ranked Sailors turned the tide and became the plague in a 14-9 win at Gardner Field.
"When we were 1-2, it was a punch in the mouth, and we had to wake up from it," senior Joe DeLine said of the team's slow start to the season. "We've really been coming together as a team. We've been playing some really good team ball, and that's the best way to get a win. It feels awesome."
The Eagles (3-3), ranked No. 8 in Class 4A, found out how troublesome the Sailors can be when it trailed by three goals early in the first quarter. They regrouped, somewhat, only to trail 4-3 at halftime.
"It's important to get that first punch and take the momentum," Steamboat coach Jay Lattimore said of the quick start. "We really tried to point out our mistakes during the week and work on them and try not to do them again. As the season goes on, they are doing a better job at that."
The Eagles tied the game at 4-4 early in the third quarter before the Sailors took control. Fueled by a tenacious defense and stellar goalkeeping by junior Peter Wharton — he finished with eight saves — Steamboat went on a 5-0 run and led 9-5 entering the fourth.
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"We've had some difficulty picking up in the third quarter," DeLine said. "It's a whole different energy on the field. There's a different desire, I guess, a different mentality that we are bringing together. And it's working."
Despite a few defensive breakdowns late in the game by Steamboat, Thompson Valley never got closer than four goals and looked less and less threatening as time wound down.
Senior Drew Williamson led the team with four goals, while sophomore Davis Petersen had three. Seven players recorded at least one assist, senior Tait Dixson's two leading the way.
"This one was definitely such a great team win, because all the guys were really rallying behind one another," Lattimore said. "I've just been trying to preach teamwork, and they are buying in. They understand, the louder they get and the more in the other team's head they get, the harder it is for them, especially when we are putting in goals like we are."
Wednesday's win over Thompson Valley was the first for Steamboat (5-2) over a ranked team this season. And, considering the magnitude of this weekend's games, the Sailors, winners of four straight, won't have much time to enjoy the victory.
Friday in Steamboat Springs, the Sailors will host No. 9 Aspen (3-2), the defending 4A state champions. Aspen won the lone matchup last season, 15-8.
Then, on Saturday, Steamboat will host No. 3 Cheyenne Mountain (6-2), a 4A state semifinalist a year ago.
"This is huge. Three really good strength opponents going into a weaker week and then spring break," Lattimore said of the current gauntlet of games. "We really want to be playing our best lacrosse by Saturday. That's kind of our goal for ourselves to put it all together by Saturday."
Friday’s game against Aspen begins at 4 p.m., with Saturday’s game against Cheyenne Mountain starting at 12:30 p.m., both at Gardner Field.