Soccer squad expecting tough league battle | SteamboatToday.com

Soccer squad expecting tough league battle

Steamboat Springs High School soccer coach Rob Bohlmann offers some advice during a passing drill as the team practiced Thursday evening in Steamboat. The squad starts its season Saturday with a trip to Glenwood Springs.

— The Steamboat Springs High School boys soccer team endured plenty of turnover in the offseason, but there's no shortage of experience coming back for what coach Rob Bohlmann said will be one of the most competitive seasons in memory for the always tight Western Slope League.

Five of the eight Sailors who scored goals a year ago graduated, but Steamboat still returns half of its overall scoring (17 of 34 goals) in a trio of veterans. Senior Charlie Beurskens was second on the team with seven goals a year ago. His classmate Jack Salyer had six, and junior Cruz Archuleta had four.

It would be hard for a player like Beurskens, a fixture in the varsity lineup throughout his high school career, to take on a bigger role, but there will be plenty of opportunity for young players.

"Charlie, he'll be our maestro. He has a lot of minutes over his career, and he's the type of kid who had captain-type leadership as a sophomore," Bohlmann said. "Cruz will be our goal-scoring personality. He's hungry, and he's unpredictable."

It's a similar story in goal for the Sailors, where they lost a team leader but have experienced hands ready to fill the position.

Injures last year set up junior Andrew McCawley to play nearly a third of the season at goalie.

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"As a junior, he goes in with a lot of experience," Bohlmann said. "He was our starting goalkeeper in a playoff game."

The team kicks off its season Saturday with a trip to Glenwood Springs, which Steamboat beat by a combined score of 9-2 in two games last year.

No matter last year's scores, easy days in the Western Slope will be hard to come by, and league play starts Saturday.

A year ago Summit jumped in front to win the league. The Sailors accounted for the Tigers’ only blemish on their league record, a 2-2 tie in Steamboat. Battle Mountain finished second, Steamboat third and Eagle Valley fourth.

This year, all three of the top finishers should be in the conversation again, and Bohlmann expects Eagle Valley to be just as strong as those squads, and maybe even stronger.

"Summit has a good group returning. Battle Mountain is always very strong, and Eagle Valley is a team that rose to the top last year and beat us and Battle Mountain, and they're returning a lot," Bohlmann said. "My prediction is that Eagle Valley will be the team to beat."

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

2015 Steamboat boys soccer schedule

Saturday at Glenwood, 11 a.m.

Thursday vs. Moffat County, 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 8 vs. Battle Mountain, 6 p.m.

Sept. 11 at Palisade, 4 p.m.

Sept. 12 at Delta, 11 a.m.

Sept. 15 vs. Summit, 6 p.m.

Sept. 24 vs. Eagle Valley, 6 p.m.

Sept. 26 vs. Palmer Ridge, 11 a.m.

Oct. 3 vs. Palisade, 1 p.m.

Oct. 6 at Summit, 6 p.m.

Oct. 10 vs. Glenwood Springs, 11 a.m.

Oct. 13 at Eagle Valley, 6 p.m.

Oct. 15 vs. Delta, 6 p.m.

Oct. 17 at Centaurus, TBD

Oct. 22 at Battle Mountain, 6 p.m.