In soccer, 2008 was the year of the Devil | VailDaily.com
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In soccer, 2008 was the year of the Devil

Boys soccer in the fall is always great to cover. This year it was stunning.

Because we had Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain going head-to-head for a league title and Vail Mountain in the hunt for orange until the final game of the season, this was the best soccer season I’ve covered in 12 years now with the Daily.

Yes, that includes VMS’ miracle run to the 2000 semifinals and Battle Mountain’s recent dynasty from 2004-07.



What makes this year special was not only the Devils-Huskies saga, but that both the 4A and 3A Slope Leagues were stacked.

In 4A, this was a four-way race among the two local teams and Glenwood Springs and Steamboat Springs. In 3A, the Slope is no longer just Basalt, Aspen and VMS. Hotchkiss (previously Paonia) won the league title.



Speaking of Hotchkiss, both leagues represented well in the playoffs. Hotchkiss is in today’s 3A final against Colorado Academy (Holy 2000 flashback, Batman!) after beating Middle Park, No. 9 Faith Christian, No. 1 Colorado Springs School and No. 4 Fountain Valley. No. 12 Basalt also exceeded its seed, making the quarterfinals.

The 4A Slope region put two teams in the quarters with the Devils as well as Montrose, which beat No. 2 Fossil Ridge.

Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain and VMS have a lot to be proud of in 2008.



Devils

I’m about as welcome at an Eagle Valley soccer game as Rush Limbaugh is at MoveOn.org convention. I will try to make amends.

You guys won me over with the 2-1 win against Mullen in Round 2. Who cares about the Battle Mountain games ” beating a program like Mullen erases that. Huskies coach David Cope will be the first to say that. (Actually I was, but we share the same brain at times.)

I know that we lead with No. 9 when talking about Eagle Valley, but I will remember Trevor Grayson’s save in the 79th minute as one for the books. Grayson could have run for political office and won handily after that grab.

As for Cesar Castillo, he’s in the firmament of greats I’ve seen ” Evie Gonzalez, Sean Meehan, Slade Cogswell, Andrew Feldman, Kyle Moore, Tyler Cole and so on. Who cares about the easy goals against Moffat? I’ve gotten over it, and Battle Mountain should too.

Ces scores goals in big games in the regular season to the tune of almost two per game against teams like the Huskies, Steamboat, Glenwood and Golden. And in the playoffs, he was sublime. That was Edgar Hernandez-like in quality. (Hernandez was dropped hat tricks for the Huskies in the first two games of the playoffs in 2005.)

Most importantly, these guys came together as one throughout the season and against Mullen.

Great team. Great season.

Huskies

Now for a teachable moment ” 11-5 is NOT a bad season.

Welcome to the high standards that come with Battle Mountain soccer. The title run wasn’t going to last forever. You don’t want it to happen on your watch, of course, but it was a fantastic season and the future is bright.

Let’s start with two wins against Eagle Valley. (Pipe down, Gypsum. If Battle Mountain had won league and the Devils had swept the Huskies, you’d be crowing. Be honest.) Those were two great games about which the fellas, as Cope would say, will be talking forever.

David Gonzalez (Costa!) emerged as defensive leader, and Connor Tedstrom was, well, Connor. Marco Ordono is the best player nobody’s ever heard of AND who never made and all-league team. Jair Molina is simply clutch and Davey DeChant had a breakout season.

This team also had character, dealing with some internal problems well. It’s a bummer to be the team that is one that was at the end of the streak, but hold your heads high.

Best moment of the season not involving Eagle Valley: Cody Hervert scores the equalizer against Longmont in the playoffs. He looked as surprised as everyone else was. Congratulations to young Hervert also for doubling up in both soccer and football. I honestly didn’t think you were going to make it. Good job, kid.

As for the “older” Hervert, Clint remains one heck of a goalie and eventually I’ll get both of your names right.

By the way, I install the Huskies as the favorites for next year. (And there went all the goodwill I had earned in Gypsum earlier in this column.)

Gore Rangers

The Red Sox don’t win the World Series and VMS doesn’t make the playoffs.

Dios mio.

OK, that’s not as much of a Dios mio as we’d normally think. Bob Bandoni has Series titles for each of his two daughters which should keep him contented. (You’d think, not to mention three Patriots Super Bowls and the Celtics winning again, but the Bandon is curious by nature, and I’m not talking about his inquisitive qualities.)

VMS was hard to figure in 2008, and that’s what adds to the frustration about the season. The Gore Rangers started the season beating Summit and losing to Steamboat, both 4A playoff teams, and tying Basalt. By all rights, you’d have thought VMS would have been orange in October.

It didn’t help matters that Roaring Fork picked up a net-five points in the standings when the Colorado Rocky Mountain School had to forfeit its games because it played a fifth-year senior. Roaring Fork ended up passing VMS for the league’s final postseason spot because of that.

That was cruel, but VMS has to look in the mirror as well. You can’t lose to Roaring Fork and Coal Ridge in September and make the playoffs in October. The Gore Rangers struggled with transition and finishing all year, and that’s what got them in the end.

Nevertheless, Carder Lamb to Tony Ryerson for a 1-0 win at Aspen remains the moment of the season.

Goalie Sean Minett returns, and so VMS will be back. But will the Red Sox? Tune in next fall for another episode of “As the Bandoni Turns.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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