Gore Rangers beat the Huskies, claim the crown
VMS wins the West
The West is won and the Vail Mountain School Gore Rangers are the rulers and masters of all they survey.
Vail Mountain’s eighth victory — an 8-4 win at Battle Mountain — was not very much different from its previous seven with the exception of the fact that it was under the lights and in front of the biggest crowd of the spring to date in Edwards.
The Gore Rangers got the ball inside to their usual suspects — OK, sort of on the that count, as we’ll explain — on offense, got the lead and let goalie Matthew Gay and the defense do the rest.
It’s worked for 10 games to the tune of 8-2 and the school’s second Western Conference title (2017) and VMS hopes the formula’s good for another 3-4 games, depending on its playoff draw, which comes out Sunday.
The team will start the playoffs either Tuesday — if VMS is seeded Nos. 5-8 — or one week from today — if the Gore Rangers get Nos. 1-4, they have a bye through the first round.
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Before Wednesday’s game, VMS was ranked No. 8 in the rating-percentage index, eighth in maxpreps.com and seventh in the CHSAA Coaches Poll, the three factors used to determine seeding.
So, maybe, plan on Orange Day for Tuesday? As always, your mileage may vary.
The loss likely knocked Battle Mountain out of the playoffs. The Huskies (5-4) were ranked 16th, 14th and 16th in the aforementioned indices before the game with only 12 teams making the tournament in this COVID-19 season.
And, for the Eagle Valley fans in attendance, and there were many as they needed the Huskies to beat the Gore Rangers for their league-title chances, the Devils (7-2) look like they’re sitting pretty with rankings of 6, 9 and 9 with Saturday’s game at Summit left on the schedule.
Too many weapons
Ironically, Battle Mountain did a terrific job on Vail Mountain’s main threats.
Mason Geller only had one goal and Becker Dienst, complete with legal stick, had just two. (We can joke about it now that VMS won the league.) Mackay Pattison and Sebastian Kohlhofer were blanked as far as goals go.
Problem No. 1, though, is even if Geller isn’t directly putting the ball in the net, he can still help others.
Geller still ran the show Wednesday night, and that’s a terrific sign for the playoffs when opposing teams are going to throw the kitchen sink at Gellar, Dienst and Kohlhofer.
What’s more, even when the usual suspects don’t burn out scoreboard lightblubs, VMS still had choices.
Junior Peter Hughes had a hat trick in the first quarter alone. Carter Large had two. Opponents are truly playing whack-a-mole.
And if you put up more than five goals, odds are good that Gay and the VMS defense will close the door. It did.
In the pregame, Battle Mountain honored its seniors. Take a bow, Quinn Peterson, Luke Larson, Ryan Moore, Blue Barnett, Cal Hill and Zander Miscio. Perhaps more importantly, Peterson won the BMHS Boys Lacrosse Always Pursue Award. The annual award is given in memory of Andrew Claymon, Class of 2012, to the player “who most exemplifies Andrew’s Always Pursue motto: To inspire and challenge and to never give up, to have strength and courage, to not show self pity, to accomplish everything possible.”
Andrew father, Michael, was on hand to present the award.
As for the Huskies and 2021, it just wasn’t their year. Of course, the program wants the playoffs ever year and this will be the first spring since 2012 Battle Mountain is not in the postseason.
The candid analysis is that the Huskies were young — only six seniors — and needed a year to cut their teeth on varsity lacrosse.
Be honest, where is the explosive offensive player, the Jeremy Sforzo or the Tucker Morrow? Not seemingly on the roster yet. Is freshman Thomas Dekanich a candidate? Yep. So is sophomore Nate Bishop. Could be those two or those two and/or a few others fans don‘t know yet.
The good news is that the Huskies found themselves a goalie in Jakub Pecinka and return everyone who’s listed on the roster as a defender. Better times are ahead.