CARBONDALE — Roaring Fork High School’s boys soccer team finished Tuesday’s Class 3A Region 3 soccer match against Vail Mountain School lamenting the goal that almost was.
Ben Coleman’s go-ahead goal in the final minute of overtime was waved off thanks to an out-of-the-ordinary offsides penalty, and the Gore Rangers and Rams walked away from the Roaring Fork High soccer field with a 3-3 tie.
“It was a little bit of a contentious refereeing decision at the end, but those things happen,” Roaring Fork coach Nick Forbes said. “You have to take it and roll with it and, instead of dwelling on what’s out of our control, we have to focus on what we can fix.”
Roaring Fork (7-2-2 overall, 2-1-1 league play) was able to fix some of the early mistakes it made and the quick strikes from Vail Mountain early in the second half to force overtime. Meanwhile, the Gore Rangers (6-3-1, 3-0-1 league) withstood an offensive onslaught from the Rams in overtime, plus Roaring Fork’s match-winning goal that wasn’t.
“As soon as I saw that happen, I stepped up and said, ‘Oh no. He’s off,’” Vail Mountain coach Pete Petrovski said. “And he was clearly off.”
Erik Carillo finished with a pair of goals for Roaring Fork, and Coleman, a Roaring Fork senior, hit the tying goal in the 79th minute to send the match into overtime. Meanwhile, Vail Mountain took the initial lead on a Roaring Fork own goal in the fifth minute, then got goals from Clayton Kirwood and Garrett Cerny within a minute of each other to take a 3-2 lead early in the second half.
Following the Rams’ own goal — a ball that deflected into Roaring Fork’s goal after the Rams tried to clear it — Roaring Fork netted an equalizer in the 14th minute. Lorenzo Andrade’s through-ball pass up the right sideline went straight to Carillo, who outran Vail Mountain’s defenders and punched the ball into the goal’s left far post to knot the score at 1-1. Then right after halftime, Carillo struck again, punching the ball past Vail Mountain goalkeeper William Sterret after the senior had saved a shot from Roaring Fork’s Gustavo Oliva.
The Gore Rangers responded, and quickly. Kirwood scored less than 30 seconds after Carillo’s goal to tie the match at 2-2 and, within 50 seconds of that score, Cerny juked a defender on Roaring Fork’s back line and blasted it past Rams goalie Alex Fisher for a 3-2 Vail Mountain lead in the 44th minute.
“That was fun to watch,” Petrovski said. “It was stressful, but fun to watch.”
Stressful final minutes
Things became very stressful for the Gore Rangers in the final minutes thanks to the five shots on goal Roaring Fork got off in the final seven minutes. They finally broke through on Carpenter’s goal, which rolled into the net off the goal post after getting by Sterret in a crowd.
Sterret, who wound up with 12 saves, notched six of them in the two overtimes. But he was the main part of the odd ending, as he took a free kick from midfield.
That kick was deflected by a Roaring Fork player, and it bounced to Carillo upfield. Carpenter followed Carillo, but the Gore Rangers couldn’t get in the backfield.
When Carpenter took the pass from Carillo, he knocked the ball into the goal in a one-on-one standoff with a Vail Mountain player. But while Carpenter was mobbed by his teammates in celebration, Petrovski ran out onto the field screaming for an offsides call.
The two referees converged and determined that because the goalkeeper was behind where the ball was played, the offside call was enforced.
“I had to ask, to be sure, where the goalie was (during that conference),” said referee Jeremy Heiser, who made the initial call before reversing it. “It’s not something you see very often.”
Roaring Fork continues league play at Grand Valley today. The Gore Rangers, who with the tie are in second place in the league standings, will host first-place Coal Ridge today.