Huskies, Vail Mountain to play familiar foes
As the postseason soccer draw came out Sunday, it is clear that CHSAA has a really good sense of humor.
The last time the Vail Mountain School made the 3A playoffs in 2006 ” when this year’s seniors were freshmen ” the Gore Rangers hosted Denver Christian. This year, No. 23 VMS is at No. 10 Denver Christian.
Meanwhile in the 4A draw, No. 26 Battle Mountain gets No. 7 Golden, about the only team besides Steamboat Springs which automatically triggers a primal reaction from the Huskies. Golden has knocked out the Huskies in Round 2 of the playoffs in both 2005 and 2007.
The games are scheduled for Wednesday ” no times have been arranged yet ” but those folks at CHSAA really do have a funny bone.
“Quite awkward,” Huskies senior Kayla Telles said. “We’ll get another chance at them. It’s a great opportunity for the team, especially for the girls who were there the last time we played them. It’s a chance for a little revenge,”
Meanwhile, VMS gets deja vu with Denver Christian.
“What I like about it is that if you look at the next (round), we would actually play within our league,” said VMS coach Bob Bandoni, noting that the winner of VMS-Denver Christian would likely play at 3A Slope champion, Coal Ridge. “Then again, who needs motivation at this point. If you need incentive now, you’re comatose.”
There’s really no chance that the Gore Rangers are in a vegetative state. VMS, usually clad in blue and white, cracked out its traditional orange jerseys for Thursday’s training session as is customary for the postseason.
And those jerseys are pretty much the raison d’être for soccer in East Vail. For the uninitiated, orange is the color of the Dutch National Team, representing one of the smallest nations to compete on the international level. VMS, one of the smallest schools in the state to field a soccer program, follows suit for the state tournament.
“It’s definitely nice to see the orange again. We missed it,” senior Harper Kaufman said. “It’s so symbolic of everything. We play the Dutch style of soccer. It’s also a goal we set at preseason camp, to wear orange. We decided on it, and we did it. It’s an amazing thing.”
The Crusaders have quite the postseason pedigree. Last year, they “only” made the quarterfinals, but did so by taking out No. 2 Alexander Dawson as a 15th seed, In 2006 and 2007, Denver Christian made the semifinals. In 2004, the Crusaders won state and followed that up the next year with a finals appearance.
Around the 3A Slope, No. 7 Coal Ridge hosts Bayfield, while No. 11 Basalt drew No. 22 Estes Park. Aspen is 24th and at No. 9 Middle Park.
There is no truth to the rumor that the older VanHee sisters, Kate and Kelly, are coming out of high-school retirement for another Battle Mountain-Golden tilt. Both held a special place in their hearts for Golden, and it seems quite strange that a VanHee will not be playing in this installment of the series. (Fear not, people, Kendall VanHee is on her way next year.)
But there are lots of memories in Battle Mountain’s camp of the Demons ” a 3-2 loss in 2005 and 5-0 defeat in 2007.
“It’s really interesting,” said Huskies coach David Cope, who has coached boys soccer at Battle Mountain since 1993 and the girls since 2003. “Some teams bring back different memories. On the boys side, it’s Liberty and Broomfield. On the girls’ side, it’s definitely Golden.”
One thing that is different for Battle Mountain in 2009 is that the Huskies are the underdog after being home for the first round as favorites the last few years. Their record of 8-7 doesn’t look too good until one checks out the rankings. Those seven losses have come at the hands of No. 1 Wheat Ridge, No. 6 Valor Christian, No. 11 Steamboat Springs (three times), No. 16 Glenwood Springs and Colorado Academy, ranked No. 8 in 3A.
“I hope they enjoy the challenge,” Cope said. “It’s amazing to be playing the seventh seed and have played two teams ranked above that. For Battle Mountain soccer, it’s uncharted territory.”
League champ, Steamboat, is at home against No. 22 Thompson Valley. Glenwood gets No. 17 Evergreen out of the Jeffco. No. 32 Palisade will be put through a threshing machine by No. 1 Wheat Ridge.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.