Gore Rangers girls soccer team conquers cold conditions to defeat Glenwood Springs 2-0 | VailDaily.com

Gore Rangers girls soccer team conquers cold conditions to defeat Glenwood Springs 2-0

Vail Mountain School moves to 4-0 with win

The Gore Rangers girls soccer team defeated Glenwood Springs on Saturday, with real-feel temperatures hovering around 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Move over Ice Bowl.

“Yeah, really cold,” head coach Bob Bandoni said on the slightly snow-covered Vail Mountain School field Saturday afternoon after his Gore Rangers girls soccer team claimed a 2-0 win over Glenwood Springs in single-digit temps. With a brutal 17 mph wind sweeping across the pitch and light snowfall in the second-half, Bandoni was impressed by the fact that not a single member of his team brought up the weather once.

“They just played; they didn’t back off,” he said. “They were executing and focusing.”

“It was a lot of fun,” Solveig Moritz added. “We were all kind of adapting to it. The ball moved a little differently than normal but I feel like as a team, we did really well.”

Moritz put the Gore Rangers on the board first at the 32:11 mark of the first half. After the midfielders sent the ball outside to the far wing, Stella Stone played it back to the youngest of three Moritzes on the team, who was dashing to the center. The freshman played a through-ball to the outer corner and crossed it back to her right with the left-foot into the net’s right corner for the 1-0 lead.

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Solveig Moritz drills in the first goal of the game during the Gore Rangers 2-0 win over the Demons on Saturday in Vail.
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Throughout the entire game, VMS owned the time of possession. In fact, a common site Saturday was Bandoni’s crew with just two center backs and a keeper in the rear — and everyone else in on the attack.
“And we’re working on that,” the pleased coach remarked. “We hope to get more cohesive and connected in that way.”

After losing multiple senior starters, several of whom developed additional chemistry as club teammates alongside members of the current lineup, meshing together all the newcomers with the veterans has been another theme for VMS this season.

“In our opening scrimmage against Battle Mountain, it felt like we were disconnected,” described senior Liv Moritz.

Liv Moritz moves the ball between two Glenwood Springs defenders during the first half.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“I think we’ve definitely progressed a lot,” her sister Solveig added. “We started out a little rusty but I think we’re a great team now and we can go really far.” 

After two Gore Ranger opportunities fell flat in the 27th and 26th minute, Liv, a DU soccer and ski multi-sport signee flashed a little bit of her division one-level talent with 13:53 remaining in the half. She deked upfield and slipped a pretty pass to Stone, who launched a missile from straightaway, just inside the 18-yard box, for the 2-0 advantage.

Stella Stone scored the second Gore Ranger goal in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Glenwood Springs at home on Saturday.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“She’s more inclined to be a distributing player,” Bandoni said of Moritz, who directed the offensive vocally when she wasn’t taking things into her own hands in moments she sensed it was necessary.

“Sometimes we call her our No. 6,” the coach continued, describing her awareness to keeps the game in front and govern the attack.

“And you could see her doing that,” he stated. “Sometimes she’d receive the ball, she’d open up and play it on the other side of the field. She was changing the point of attack, using her voice and that just shows so much growth on her part to step up in a leadership role from the middle of the field.”

With twin sister Kjersti out this year with a knee injury and Stone — a scoring machine who found the back of the net 26 times during the Gore Rangers 15-win 2022 campaign — easing into the season after battling mono and a hamstring tweak, both Liv and Solveig have assumed increasingly pronounced roles.

“I think definitely the team’s had to step it up a bit because (Kjersti) was kind of our core, especially on the wing,” Solveig said. “So, we’ve made some changes and just adapted as a team, which is good.”

“I think this year I kind of stepped into more of a leadership role because we’ve had a lot of new players stepping onto this team,” Liv added. “But it’s been really fun. It’s a good challenge.”

Charlotte Johnson throws the ball in during the first half of Saturday’s game between Vail Mountain School and Glenwood Springs.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

With the wind refusing to relent and flakes starting to fall in the second half, the final 40 minutes saw no scoring and a bit more slippage. Even without any score-sheet evidence, Bandoni was happy with the progress he witnessed.

“It was really rewarding for me to see them coaching themselves as a team out on the field … as if there was no snowstorm going on,” he said.

With the win, Vail Mountain School moves to 4-0 and maintains its first-place position in the 3A Western Slope standings, though Bandoni said the win-loss record isn’t a topic of conversation amongst his players anyway.

“Every time they come out on the pitch, training or playing in a match, we never really have much ‘rah-rah’ or we need to win this game — it’s all, ‘we need to elevate our quality of play,” he said.

Sydney Smith makes a pass early in the first half.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“It’s a deep level of satisfaction in working with a team whose focus is elevating our level of play, believing we have greater capacity for quality than where we are and focusing on that as opposed to results.”

On Saturday, the Gore Rangers got the result — and didn’t need any Bart Starr magic to do so.

“Overall, I think we kind of stepped up to the challenge,” Liv Moritz said in summarizing the win.

“It was snowy, slippery, and we had a lot of players coming back from injury and a lot of players for their first game. I thought we really played as one — which was needed for these conditions.”

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