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Rifle buried by Steamboat

Joel ReichenbergerSteamboat CorrespondentPost IndependentGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Rifle goalie Tony Mendoza grabs the ball off the foot of Steamboat’s Andrew White Saturday. Despite notching several big saves, Mendoza could only slow Steamboat’s onslaught, not stop it. The Sailors won the game, 11-0.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado – Matched against elite opponents, the Steamboat Springs High School soccer team took no shame in its 0-1-1 record as it entered Saturday’s home showdown against Rifle.Still, the Sailors seemed to take out their frustrations on the Bears to the tune of a whopping 11-0 victory.Steamboat scored early and consistently.”We scored some goals, and that’s something we’ve struggled with,” Steamboat coach Rob Bohlmann said. “The guys really saw the problems on the field and didn’t force a lot of things.”Through most of the match, it looked easy for the Sailors.Tony Rende started the scoring just five minutes into the game, when he headed a ball into the net.”I’ve been having trouble finishing lately. I’ve been making a lot of opportunities, making stuff happen. I saw it there, and I knew I had to get my head on the ball,” Rende said. “I felt it hit my head and didn’t know where it was. It was in the back of the net, and I was so stoked.”Rende made it two goals 25 minutes later when he broke free and beat the drawn-out goalkeeper, burying Steamboat’s fourth goal in the back of the net.The diversity in his goals illustrated a greater theme in the game.Steamboat scored nearly every way imaginable. Hanson Buchner brought the score to 3-0 with a shot from 25 yards early in the first half. Enrique Lopez beat the keeper one-on-one to make it 7-0 in the second half. Brandon Marr brought the score to 8-0 after fielding a perfect pass over the Rifle defense for a short tap-in.Connor Birch rocketed in a goal late in the second half to make it 9-0, plugging the ball in from 15 feet after it had rolled away from the defenseless keeper. Marr and a pair of Rifle players collided in front of the net and collapsed in a heap, and Birch easily cleaned up the mess.Finally, Johnathon Ricker, the team’s defensive leader, converted a penalty kick with four minutes remaining. He rounded out the day’s diverse attacks and became the ninth Sailor to score.For Rifle, the loss didn’t come as a surprise, but it was frustrating nonetheless.Bears coach Ryan Mahler said seven of his most experienced players were confined to the bench because of grades and that many of the players on the field had never before touched the ball in a varsity game.”You look at Steamboat’s past, their soccer history, and they’re known for possessing the ball,” Mahler said. “They did that today. If they can possess it that long, obviously things will open up for them.”


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