Aspen handles Vail Mountain, 3-1
EAST VAIL, Colorado ” There are certain givens for Aspen-Vail Mountain School soccer games. When the teams meet in the fall, VMS’ Tony Ryerson always seems to score on a key penalty kick. In the spring, count on snow.
In weather befitting teams called the Skiers and Gore Rangers, Aspen came away with a 3-1 win Monday at Bandoni Alumni Field.
“It feels really great. I think both teams are used to the cold weather,” said Aspen striker Julia Hassall, a veteran of this series.
Hassall split the Gore Rangers defense early and Haley Rinaldi and Kate Moyers scored in the second half to move Aspen to 3-0 early in the 3A Slope chase.
“The work level we put in was good today. We didn’t have the width we were used to with the crosses,” said Aspen coach John Gilles, referring to the fact that Bandoni Alumni Field was narrowed by 4 yards on each side because of recent snow. “It was hard to get outside. It’s never going to be a nice, graceful game. I wasn’t going to be pretty. (VMS) always come out strong.”
For the Gore Rangers (0-1), it was the first outing of the season and it understandably looked like it. Despite playing with 10 players for periods of the game because of injury and having a lot of new players on the team, VMS did show glimpses of organized play.
“You want to see improvement, and I think you could see that in the second half,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “We have a number of players playing their first soccer game, and we have players in different positions. I think it took a little while to get going. I would feel differently if we played the same way in the second half as we did the first.”
Applying the pressure
Aspen got off to a quick start in the fourth minute with Hassall making a lovely run through the defense, creating a breakaway and scoring on VMS keeper Elsie Macsata.
“It was a great relief,” Hassall said. “I felt like we got a lot of pressure from them. Just getting a goal, knowing that we were ahead helped. I think it’s about pressuring the defense and that’s what I did.”
While Macsata likely could have come out to challenge Hassall, she earned her spurs in her first start in net later in the first half. She deftly parried Skiers’ shot over the cross bar and also made a fine stop on an Aspen volley headed for the right corner.
That helped VMS make a game of it, and slowly, the Gore Rangers did put together some nice sequences which resulted in scoring chances. The Gore Rangers’ Joely Dekinger and Molly Etters were the primary beneficiaries of these runs.
Rinaldi gave the Skiers some breathing room scoring on a nifty pass through the box from Brittany Mars. Moyer scored on an ill-fated clearing attempt by the Gore Rangers in the 72nd minute.
Etters had a penalty kick late, but her shot cracked off the right post. However, she got a chance seconds later and buried her shot into the right panel for VMS’ first tally of the season.
“I was thinking redemption,” the senior said.
Aspen hosts Grand Junction Central today at 4 p.m., while VMS has Roaring Fork Thursday in East Vail with the same starting time.
“There are definitely a lot of things we could do, slowing the ball down, making easier passes rather than getting too excited,” Etters said. “There are a lot of things I know we can do that we didn’t do. There were definitely a lot of good things, too.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.
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