EAST VAIL — The end might be near at the Vail Mountain School.
Bandoni Alumni Field has a scoreboard. (This is somewhat akin to lights finally coming to Wrigley Field in 1988, or perhaps, more appropriately for the man for whom the pitch is named, Monster seats being put up at Fenway Park.)
Unfortunately, the scoreboard did not have a good tale to tell on Thursday as visiting Roaring Fork nipped VMS, 2-1, putting a dent in the latter’s playoff hopes.
The urgency for VMS was apparent. Coach Ted O’Reilly took a little longer than usual with his staff before addressing the team a halftime, when the Gore Rangers trailed 2-0.
Changing It Up
“We knew this was a game we needed to win, so we changed the lineup a little bit, pushed some girls up,”O’Reilly said.
Kristen Vossler went from center back to midfield and Annie Blakslee shifted from midfield to striker, and VMS was able to generate some more offensive pressure. That bore fruit when VMS got a free kick at the top of the box, and Kelly Maloney converted to halve the lead.
“I think the team came out a little flat in the first half,” O’Reilly said. “I think you could see that by the way we played. We were passive. We kept sliding in. In the second half, we were much more offensive. We kept pushing up, winning more 50-50 balls, being more aggressive generally. Too little, too late.”
Practice Makes Perfect
Roaring Fork (9-1-1 overall and 3-1-1 in the 3A Slope) capitalized early with goals by Emily Fisher and Natalie Olivas.
“I was pleased with the first half,” Rams coach Heather Fox said. “They played well. They did some things we were working on. I think the penalty was hard play. I’m OK with that. The problem is that we didn’t set our wall properly. That’s what we work on in practice tomorrow.”
Roaring Fork controls its playoff destiny with four home games to conclude the season — Vail Christian on Saturday, Aspen on Tuesday, Coal Ridge on Thursday and Moffat County on Saturday next.
VMS to host Saints Tuesday
VMS is not in such an enviable position. The Gore Rangers are 3-4 in the Slope, sitting in sixth place in league that sends four to the postseason. The good news is that the Gore Rangers will pick up a forfeit win against CRMS on Saturday. There is no game on Saturday, by the way. But VMS only has one league game left at Rangely on Thursday.
In the meantime, the Gore Rangers will host Vail Christian in a nonleague tilt on Tuesday at Bandoni Alumni Field, with its scoreboard.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.