All-league soccer awards dotted with local athletes
Soccer All-league Awards
Coach of the Year (4A): Stephen Baxter, Eagle Valley
Coach of the Year (3A): Bob Bandoni, Vail Mountain
Western Slope Player of the Year (4A): Mariel Gutierrez, Eagle Valley
Western Slope Player of the Year (3A): Tess Johnson, Vail Mountain
4A Western Slope
Logan Nash, Battle Mountain
Acacia Ortiz. Battle Mountain
Emily Cope, Battle Mountain,
Mariel Gutierrez, Eagle Valley
Camilla Petterson, Eagle Valley
Rose Sandell, Eagle Valley
Jessie Adams, Eagle Valley
Brennecke Gale, Eagle Valley
Morgan Croke, Battle Mountain
Molly Phannestiel, Battle Mountain
A.J. Davies, Battle Mountain.
3A Western Slope
Tess Johnson, Vail Mountain
Kristen Vossler, Vail Mountain
Emma Hall, Vail Mountain
Olivia Manula, Vail Mountain
Jessie Raitt, Vail Christian
Sydney Sappenfield, Vail Mountain
Annie Blakslee, Vail Mountain
Olivia Giacco, Vail Mountain
Maddie Donovan, Vail Mountain
Keelin Robinson, Vail Christian
It just might have been a pretty good girls soccer season locally.
That is the impression when glancing at the postseason awards for the 4A or 3A Western Slope.
Good coaches? Check.
Outstanding players? Check.
A phone book’s worth of all-leaguers? Check.
Coach(es) of the Year
Eagle Valley soccer has long been an afterthought in the spring. Led by coach Stephen Baxter, the Devils changed all that in 2015. Eagle Valley went from 7-8 overall and 3-7 in the Slope to 12-4 and 9-3.
That turnaround included the program’s first berth in the postseason since the school moved up to 4A 10 years ago, and, ergo, Baxter is a very well-deserved selection for the league’s Coach of the Year.
All the Vail Mountain School did was win a league title for the first time since 1990. Rumor has it that the Gore Rangers won the 2A state title, however, the voting for these awards was taken before the playoffs. Nonetheless, VMS swept through the combo 3A/2A league with a 10-0 mark.
And, as such, Bob Bandoni, the Prince of Paonia, is your highly esteemed 3A Slope Coach of the Year.
Player(s) of the Year
Coaches who receive these honors generally defer to their players. Coaches are generally a whole lot smarter when they have talented teams, and that was the case for Baxter and Bandoni.
Eagle Valley’s Mariel Gutierrez finished the season with a mere 37 goals and 10 assists. With those staggering numbers, the senior won the 4A Slope Player of the year. According to maxpreps.com, Gutierrez led 4A in both goals and total points (goals and assists combined).
Gutierrez will continue playing at the University of Northern Colorado later this fall.
VMS’ Tess Johnson isn’t going anywhere. The freshman, who also made the U.S. Freestyle Skiing Team, is the 3A Slope Player of the Year. The reason that Gutierrez’s state-leading status was qualified was that not all teams report individual stats to maxpreps.com.
The Gore Rangers do not, and, as such, Johnson finished the season with only two goals. She probably had a few more than that.
If one is interested in Draft Kings, and the like, one could have a very good time just picking local players.
Although most coaches would not use three strikers in a regular game, one couldn’t go wrong with Gutierrez, Johnson and Battle Mountain’s Logan Nash.
All Nash did was score a school record 31 goals and score 70 points, both second in 4A behind Gutierrez. Need assists? OK, pick the Huskies’ Acacia Ortiz, No. 2 in 4A with 18. Miss Ortiz will be playing soccer at the Colorado School of Mines in the fall, while Nash is off to the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Emily Cope’s a darn good pick, too, for fantasy soccer. As always we insert the reminder, that coaches cannot vote for their own players. On the other hand, Cope the player had 14 goals and nine assists, so coach David Cope wouldn’t have had to say anything when the coaches met for the vote.
If there is a beef — and there always is when it comes to all-league voting — it’s that Battle Mountain’s Morgan Croke was honorable mention and not first team. Part of the Gan-Gan twins with Nash, Croke was an offensive force with 11 goals and eight assists.
Oh, yes, the Saints
There is a tendency to overlook Vail Christian soccer with all the feats of Vail Mountain, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley. Do remember the Saints went from 0-for-2014 to 4-7 this spring.
With the improvement, Vail Christian actually had more than a token all-league selection. Freshman Jessie Raitt made her second all-league team as a first team selection. (She did the same in basketball during the winter.) Keelin Robinson wrapped her senior year as an honorable mention.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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