Glenwood lax falls to Steamboat in rivalry matchup |

Glenwood lax falls to Steamboat in rivalry matchup

Glenwood senior attacker Ben Liotta looks to get around Steamboat senior defender Wyatt Reynolds during Tuesday's matchup at Stubler Memorial Field.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

In a physical, defensive-oriented battle mixed with some superb goaltending by both squads, the Steamboat Springs Sailors lacrosse team came out on top 8-4 Tuesday afternoon against the Glenwood Springs Demons at Stubler Memorial Field in the rivalry matchup.

Early on in Tuesday’s battle in Glenwood, the Sailors would stake themselves to a quick 1-0 lead as senior midfielder Max Lynch was able to beat Glenwood senior goalie Joe Liotta low to his right, just inside the right post. Lynch’s goal came just seconds after taking a slash to the head by a Demon defender, which would have given the Sailors a man-advantage, but by finding the back of the net the Steamboat senior was able to wipe out the penalty.

With Steamboat holding a 1-0 lead just under 40 seconds into the game, the two teams would tighten up defensively as freshman defender Kelton MacPherson, and senior defensemen Reed Featherstone and Zach Niccoli had active sticks defensively, forcing turnovers to get the ball out of the Steamboat attacking zone.

“Defense definitely stepped up today,” Glenwood Head Coach Jay French said. “The physical play was definitely present, and we were fighting for ground balls as a team. Plus, our communication was a lot better, and the defensive slides actually worked today. It looked like a completely new team out there today.”

As the Glenwood defense stood tall, the Demon attack struggled to maintain possession of the ball and set up their offense against the Sailors, resulting in a heavy burden being placed on the Glenwood defense throughout the first quarter.

That heavy workload would be too much to withstand midway through the first quarter as Lynch would find the back of the net for the second time in the game, this time beating Liotta high while slashing through the middle of the Glenwood defense to give the Sailors a 2-0 lead.

Trailing 2-0, the Demons continued to struggle offensively as passes failed to connect with one another, but junior attacker Zach Johnson got Glenwood going with a big stick-check on a Steamboat midfielder, knocking the ball free near midfield. Johnson was then able to corral it before racing into the attacking zone where he’d draw a penalty on Steamboat for a slash to the helmet, giving the Demons a man advantage.

Holding the man advantage, Glenwood was able to set up its offense, where senior Shane Beckley was able to beat Steamboat senior goalie Peter Wharton to pull the Demons to within one goal, 2-1, late in the first quarter.

Steamboat would answer quickly, though, as sophomore midfielder Kieran Hahn was able to slice through the middle of the Glenwood defense on a long Sailor possession before beating Liotta with a bouncing shot to extend the Steamboat lead back to two, 3-1.

The Sailors would hold a 3-1 lead after 12 minutes of play on the road before senior attacker Colin Musselman would stretch the Steamboat lead to 4-1 early in the second quarter as senior attacker Grant Janka found Musselman in front of the net with a terrific pass, allowing Musselman to beat Liotta just inside the post, putting a ton of pressure on the Demons.

Throughout the rest of the second quarter Liotta and Wharton stood tall in the creases, making big save after big save. Wharton would make massive stops on Glenwood senior attacker Ben Liotta and Johnson in close late in the second quarter with the Sailors trying to hold onto a 4-1 lead before Joe Liotta stoned Musselman and Lynch on back-to-back shots to keep the Sailors at bay.

But junior midfielder Bridger Boyd would solve the Joe Liotta riddle, beating the senior goalie on a bouncing shot just before halftime to give the Sailors a 5-1 lead after two quarters of play.

Following the brief halftime break, the Demons came out determined to get back into the game.

“We told them to relax and settle the ball down,” French said. “It seemed like every time we got the ball we’d run down the middle of the field and get triple-teamed. Once we settled the ball down, we were able to click offensively. The big part is too, when we settle the ball down, we’re able to give our defense a rest, which was a big boost for us in the second half.”

Unfortunately for Glenwood, things got off to a rocky start in the second half as Joe Liotta looked to clear the ball from behind his own net, but his pass sailed wide, right into the netting of Hahn, who was able to find junior attacker Davis Peterson right on the doorstep of the Glenwood goal, where Peterson was able to whip his shot past a recovering Liotta for the goal, giving Steamboat a 6-1 lead midway through the third quarter.

Trailing 6-1, Glenwood would kick it into gear as Ben Liotta was able to beat Steamboat junior goalie Zach Miller at the 1:43 mark of the third quarter. Ben Liotta would take a feed from a teammate before cutting into the front of the net from the right wing, beating Miller high over his stick to pull the Demons back to within four, 6-2.

“He [Joe] showed up to play today,” French said. “He saved us definitely in the first half. He played a huge role for us. Even during warm-ups he was seeing the ball great and was really on his game for us.”

Steamboat would answer quickly, though, as Peterson would score his second of the game just 35 seconds later to make it 7-2 Sailors. Peterson’s goal was pure determination as the senior took multiple hard checks near the Glenwood crease before slipping a shot past Joe Liotta while falling to the ground, igniting the Steamboat bench in the rivalry matchup.

But Glenwood would not be outdone as Johnson answered 18 seconds later with a shorthanded goal following a 2-minute crosscheck to the head by Beckley on Steamboat’s Curtis Maltby.

Johnson was able to take a feed from Glenwood senior midfielder Sam Liotta before cutting in front of the Steamboat net to beat Miller high for his ninth goal of the season in just three games.

Steamboat would hold a 7-3 lead after three quarters of play, but momentum seemed to be on the Glenwood side as Ben Liotta would score his second goal of the game off of a feed from brother Sam to make it 7-4 Steamboat early in the fourth quarter, putting a ton of pressure on the Sailors.

However, the Steamboat defense would stand tall late in the game, allowing the Sailors to go on the attack where sophomore midfielder Tallak Myhre was able to beat Joe Liotta for the clinching goal, putting the game out of reach for the Demons.

“We told all the kids to keep their heads up, they played all four quarters of the game,” French said. “It was nice to see the physical aspect show up today. It was just a few little mistakes that had us trailing, but that can be fixed. We just have to keep working hard and prepare for Durango.”

With the loss, Glenwood falls to 1-2 on the season. The Demons will host the Durango Demons Friday afternoon at 4 p.m.

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