Battle Mountain edges Vail Mountain, 3-1
Huskies win friendly
EAST VAIL — When Battle Mountain and Vail Mountain School soccer play each other, it’s like looking in the mirror.
“Years and years ago in another century, when I moved to this community, Bob was a mentor, and he and I have a lot of similar philosophies about the game,” Huskies coach David Cope said of his VMS counterpart, Bob Bandoni. “Now I look at how young he looks and I think I should have picked an older mentor.”
Cope provided the rim shot, and Kate Mitchell and Audrey Teague chipped in the goals as the Huskies came away with a 3-1 win at Bandoni Alumni Field on Thursday in a friendly game between the to local rivals.
What made Thursday’s game fun, aside from the high level of soccer, was that both teams play the same way. While Cope was joking about the end of the 20th century, both he and Bandoni were coaching their respective teams then, and the style is the same.
Forward, back, send it outside and cross it in. Both teams are steeped in the cult of the middle back (Claire Krueger for the Huskies and Sammie Gish for the Gore Rangers). Both push the outside backs forward and will use every inch of width of the pitch.
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It’s not a coincidence that Bandoni Alumni Field and Battle Mountain’s turf, which should be named for Cope in due time, are the widest on the Western Slope.
“Anytime the level of soccer is that high it’s rewarding, watching players who grew up together playing high-quality aggressive soccer,” Bandoni said. “You can see tempos flowing both ways. It’s really rewarding. I wish we could play a match like this every week.”
Battle Mountain is a bit of MASH unit — sans Alan Alda. Gabby Caballero hurt her right ankle during Tuesday’s 4-1 loss at D’Evelyn.
Piece of good news No. 2: Caballero’s absence has opened up a spot for junior Mitchell, who scored two times against VMS in place of Caballero.
“It’s awesome when you have a second forward
Mitchell herself is coming off a right ACL injury last season and seems in full form.
“It was really fun, playing against my club team and beating them,” Mitchell said. “We’ve been playing together since we were 8 years old. It’s a rivalry since we know each other.”
Reyna Kenney fed Mitchell early in the first half. Teague, who went one whole game against D’Evelyn without scoring — gasp, got her mojo going with a booming free kick in the second half for a 2-0 lead.
Vail Mountain School countered with Marley Chapel to halve the score. The key sequence came in the 77th minute when the Gore Rangers’ Anwyn Urquhart was wide right with her free kick with the Huskies scoring on the ensuing possession with Teague to Mitchell.
One note of concern for Battle Mountain leaving Vail Mountain was that Krueger injured her right ankle. Cayla Woodruff filled in admirably for the senior as the Huskies seems to be deep this season.
“We transferred the crutches from one to another,” Cope joked somewhat of Caballero and Krueger.
Battle Mountain (5-1 overall and 3-0 in the Slope) heads to Palisade on Saturday.
“We dropped 13 spots after losing to D’Evelyn,” Cope said. “Maybe we’ll move up a few spots after today.”
Not that the coach checks at the rating-percentage index incessantly, but the computer should like Thursday’s game in retrospect with the Huskies at 5-1 and the Gore Rangers at 5-3. A team’s opponents’ winning percentage is a majority of the formula of the RPI, so the math is good for both sides.
Before Thursday’s game the Huskies were 18th in 4A, while the Gore Rangers were 25th in 3A.
VMS is at Aspen on Saturday in 3A Slope action.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.