Aspen, Vail Mountain play to scoreless draw
EAST VAIL ” A thrilling 0-0 soccer tie is not an oxymoron.
There was a ton of action packed into Thursday’s scoreless draw Thursday between Aspen and Vail Mountain in the Gore Rangers’ home opener at Bandoni Alumni Field in East Vail.
A frenzied second half and 10 minutes of overtime produced plenty of chances for both teams to walk away with the win and three points. Instead the Skiers and Gore Rangers earned a point and will try to settle things in the rematch on April 4 in Aspen.
“It was definitely a defender’s game, ” Aspen coach John Gilles said. “It was a great display of defense and midfield. They canceled each other out. Both teams fought hard.”
Aspen (3-0-1) moved to 10 points in the 3A Slope with the draw, while VMS upped its record to 1-0-1.
Aspen’s prime opportunity came midway through the second half when Kate Moyer found some rare space within VMS’ box. Her shot looked perfectly-slotted for the top shelf, but VMS goalie Lily Grisafi parried the ball over the bar to keep the game deadlocked.
“That was actually one time when they got past our first defender and the other team was able to tee up and take a shot,” Grisafi said. “It was a really good shot, but just before the game, I worked on punching the ball over the goal if I couldn’t catch it. It was good.”
Aspen keeper Lindsey Anderson replied with two wonderful saves on VMS breakaways by Kelli Lindsay and Misha Harrison in the waning moments of regulation.
“Let’s just the say, the girl has had nothing to do the first three games,” Gilles joked of Aspen’s opening schedule of two meetings with Roaring Fork and one with Grand Valley. “Now we know she’s doing work as well.”
VMS’ best chance was in the first overtime when the Skiers’ Sally Boelens fouled the Gore Rangers’ Emma Porter just outside the Aspen 18. Mia Bandoni took the free kick and her bending shot caught the left side of the crossbar.
Like Grisafi, Anderson had practiced for the set piece.
“A game is totally different, especially when it’s that close, We were just standing there. We were ready to go. I thought it was crazy. That was their chance and they missed it.”
Anderson jokingly added, “Seriously. That was some good aim.”
Aspen had the final scoring chance when Brittany Marrs had an open shot on the left side of the Gore Rangers’ net, but VMS’ Ellie Knust cleared it off the line.
After breezing past Roaring Fork twice as well as Grand Valley, Thursday was a good opportunity for Aspen to see how it stack up against the upper crust of the 3A Slope.
“They’ve definitely not let up and we haven’t either,” Anderson said. “It’s definitely good competition after three games.”
For VMS, after defeating Roaring Fork, 6-4, Tuesday, Thursday was a day to solidify its defense.
“Our focus really is to play with a team purpose defensively and we want to try to play higher up on the field,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “I thought the players did that really well. It takes a lot of grit. Within our system, it also takes a lot of communication. What I’m pleased about is that we grew so much within this game. We were responded to the shape of the other team’s attack, and we were also I thought we were transitioning pretty well.”
Aspen hosts Rangely at 2 p.m. today, while VMS is at Grand Valley on Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.