Gore Rangers play Rams to a draw
EAST VAIL – For 80 minutes, the Gore Rangers couldn’t solve Roaring Fork’s Whitney Campbell. But in stoppage time of Thursday’s game at the Igloo, Vail Mountain finally put one past Campbell on a penalty kick by Kristen Caples to tie the game at one and earn a draw.After a scoreless first half that saw few scoring chances, the Gore Rangers used solid midfield ball control to put pressure on the Rams’ box. “What I was most pleased about was that we were able to shift from the first half to the second and come out with more cohesion,” said Vail Mountain coach Bob Bandoni.Roaring Fork coach Brad Zeigel was also impressed with Vail’s tight midfield play.”They control the ball really nicely, and when it goes over the top, they’ve got such great heading skills. They took a lot of opportunities away from us with their defensive skills and patience on attacks,” Zeigel said.
Vail Mountain may have held a possession advantage, but it was the Rams that broke the scoreless tie 15 minutes into the second half.On a 2-on-1 break, Roaring Fork’s Taylor Wagner ripped a shot from the right side of the box, but Vail Mountain’s Cely Brinkmann came out to cut off the angle and make a diving stop. The rebound trickled to a wide-open Hanna Burleigh, who easily tapped in the ball to give the Rams a 1-0 lead.The Gore Rangers continued to attack the Rams and barrage Campbell with shots as time wound down in the second half. Caples had a great chance to tie the game when teammate Harper Kaufman fed her just outside the Rams’ box, but Caples’ shot bent wide left just as it approached the goal.Caples would have another chance, however, in stoppage time.PKVail Mountain’s Lani Bruntz used her speed to elude a Roaring Fork defender, then made her way into the box, only to be tripped up.When the official signaled for a penalty kick, Bandoni sent Caples to face Campbell.”I was thinking, this girl is good,” Caples said of Campbell. “Every other ball I kicked at her, she got, so I had to get it by her. And I did.”
Caples zinged the ball into the left side of the goal past a diving Campbell.”I though Kristen played as well as I’ve ever seen her play,” Bandoni said. “She gave us some important possession in the midfield and calmed us down. Karlie (Moore) did the same thing.”In the first overtime, Vail Mountain retained the momentum and kept the ball in the Roaring Fork end, but couldn’t create any good chances on Campbell. The second overtime saw little action with the ball changing possession at midfield several times.”I’m glad we are getting out of here with a point,” Bandoni said.Zeigel was glad to hold off Vail Mountain in overtime.”It would have been hard not to come out with a tie,” Zeigel said. All anglesBrinkmann and Campbell gave opposing shooters few options when approaching the box.
“Whitney is pretty natural back there, but she’d rather be on the field,” Zeigel said.Campbell finished with 10 saves, and she also intercepted the majority of Vail Mountain’s 10 corner kicks.Despite a sore hamstring, Brinkmann acted as an auxiliary defender, racing out of the net time and again to break up potential Rams’ scoring chances. Brinkmann was also one of her team’s best passers.”Her distribution was really important,” Bandoni said. “She was distributing it out of her hand, and also hitting people up at midfield. She did a great job.”And at the other end of the field, Bandoni saw a vast improvement from his team’s 3-0 loss against Basalt Tuesday.”The difference between today and Tuesday was how we threatened inside the box,” Bandoni said. “We had a lot of opportunities. And (the goals) will come.”Vail Mountain will have a chance to knock in a few into the back of the net when it hosts Aspen Tuesday at 4 p.m. at what will likely still be the Igloo.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado
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