Vail Mountain School boys lacrosse completes season sweep of Eagle Valley with 13-3 win

The Gore Rangers improved to 5-1 with the victory

Vail Mountain School defeated Eagle Valley 13-3 on Tuesday afternoon in Gypsum.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

When Vail Mountain School faced Eagle Valley on March 23, the Gore Rangers let the Devils rally to within one late in the game after building a 6-1 first-half lead. In Tuesday’s rematch, the blue and white were determined to play a full 48 minutes.

“That’s exactly what we said to them,” Vail Mountain head coach Stephen Michel said. “It was like, we got to make sure we keep the pedal to the metal.”

The Gore Rangers poured in eight second-quarter goals and never backed off, handing the Devils a 13-3 defeat on a sunny afternoon in Gypsum. Michel’s squad improved to 5-1 overall and in league play while the Devils dropped to 3-6 overall and 2-5 in the 4A Western Slope.

“The little things add up,” summarized Eagle Valley head coach Nick Carter. “Too many mistakes. Those compound on each other.”

Eagle Valley freshman Max Zoller put the game’s first points on the board, scoring off a pass from Peter Boyd to give the home team a 1-0 lead. Vail Mountain responded with two goals to go up by one at the end of the quarter. Alex Smiley found Daniel Farrell for the Devils’ lone score of the second, but Jack Schwartz’s speed, Jay McCormack’s physicality up front and Charlie Vidal’s shooting power proved to be too much for the young Eagle Valley squad.

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“The more they play, the more their sticks get dialed in,” Michel said. “That was some of the best ball movement we’ve had on offense the whole season.”

Vail Mountain School senior Jay McCormack wins a face off and dashes downfield late in the second quarter. McCormack launched an unassisted score a few seconds later.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Vidal had three goals and two assists in the first half and Schwartz, Erik Jaerbyn and Evan Sapp each added two apiece. McCormack made the turning point play, however, winning a face off and taking it all the way himself to put his team up by seven. Sapp scored the dagger in the final five seconds to send the visitors into break with a 10-2 lead. Meanwhile, cool and collected freshman goalie Teddy Johnson proved impenetrable in the net.

“He’s just so even keel. Nothing bothers him,” Michel said. “Whether they score or not, it’s the same, level-headed reaction. The thing is, when he plays like that, it makes the defense relax a little bit more.”

The Devils, however, refused to wilt. Their offensive patience paid off halfway through the third quarter, too. On one sequence, Boyd stretched the defense, dashing along the baseline behind the net before tossing a floater over Johnson to Zoller, whose overhand shot found the bottom left corner.

“I saw my defender turn and look at Peter, so I cut down and then I was just wide open on the crease,” Zoller said.

Peter Boyd passes the ball in the second quarter of Tuesday’s game between Eagle Valley and Vail Mountain School.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“He’s a fantastic leader,” Carter said of Boyd, who set up Zoller twice in the game.

“He’s doing a lot, nurturing the younger guys. It’s really good for the young guys to get on the field and see how fast the game is played. Opening that door to them, so come next season — or later on — they’re more adapted to the style of play.”

Zoller said he doesn’t dwell on the size mismatches he often faces, but instead leans into the unique advantages he possesses.

“Just like, sneaking through smaller spots and finding an open space,” he said.

Ian Bibler tries to sneak in close to the net while Teddy Brunner defends.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Ultimately, the Devils thwarted the Gore Rangers’ perimeter passing and controlled time of possession to win the quarter 1-0.

“Fantastic third quarter,” Carter said. “We shut them out.”

But the Gore Rangers, determined to finish strongly, ended with three fourth-quarter goals (plus a fourth that was later called off).

“It’s an in-valley game, it’s always going to be hard fought,” Michel said. “We’re getting better. It’s like we tell them: we’ve got to get better every day. Defense is coming together really well. We’ve just got to keep building on this.” 

The Devils found reasons to be optimistic, too.

“We got a lot better on catching and passing,” Zoller stated. “Now we can kind of focus on our plays and get better at those. I feel like we just keep getting better each day.”

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