EAST VAIL — This is not how it’s meant to work.
When a team suits up only 12 players for a soccer game, one figures on a quick start and then fizzling energy, due to a lack of numbers.
Vail Mountain had just 12 players but got stronger as Tuesday’s game against Moffat County went along. The Gore Rangers nearly overcame a two-goal deficit during the second half of a 2-1 loss to the Bulldogs at Bandoni Alumni Field in East Vail.
“I think that just comes from playing more,” VMS coach Ted O’Reilly said. “We haven’t had a chance to play games.”
And there’s the answer. This was just the Gore Rangers’ second actual game of the spring. VMS had to forfeit a nonleague tilt against Roaring Fork because of a lack of numbers and then ran into Coal Ridge, 5-0 and ranked No. 7 in the CHSAA poll, last week.
‘More Time On The Field’
“I think it was just getting comfortable playing with each other, getting more time on the field,” O’Reilly said. “The second half, they were way more aggressive. They were not being tentative. I think they did a great job of that. It shows what heart they have, only having one sub, six freshmen playing. It was pretty awesome.”
Moffat County’s Allie Ehlers and Brenna Ciesco scored in the 28th and 31st minutes, respectively, staking the visitors to a 2-0 lead. But VMS came on in the second half with Haley Samuels taking a pass from Taylor Washing and drilling it into the right side of the Bulldogs’ net. Washing, hopping up and down, seemed more excited than Samuels after the score and VMS gained momentum from that point.
Junior Kelly Maloney likely had VMS’ best chance for the equalizer. She headed a pass and it caught part of the left side of the cross bar.
“Our starting goaltender (Lindsey Peterson) is a freshman, and she played awesome in the second half,” O’Reilly said. “It was just coming out and being comfortable. She can do it. She was just a little nervous to start. Then we have players like Maddie Donovan and Sydney Sappenfield who already belong here. They’re a huge part of the team to begin with. Maddie played awesome at stopper and was communicating and controlling the game and marked their best player most of the game. Sydney played in the middle and created a lot of chances.”
VMS is next in action on Tuesday against Aspen in East Vail.
“I know that’s one we’re looking forward to,” O’Reilly said.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.