Late goal knocks out Pepi’s in quarters
VAIL – The orchestra rehearsing for the opening Vail International Dance Festival performance kept playing Sunday near Ford Park.The Pepi’s men’s soccer team unfortunately had to stop playing. Jesus Ramirez of Itesm, Mexico, scored with three minutes to go in the quarterfinals of the Vail Invitational Soccer Tournament, dispatching the locals, 1-0.”That was what we were looking for as a team,” Ramirez said. “We were trying to find the goal and finally we got it. So, we’re excited to go to the next round. We play as a team. I had the opportunity to put the goal in the net, but we play as a team.”
Itesm later fell in the semifinals as the Rovers beat America for the title on penalty kicks.”It was definitely an even game,” Pepi’s coach Jeff Hayslip said of the quarterfinal. “It came down to a mistake in the back, one little mistake. It could have went either way. We had a few good chances. They had a few good chances. We played hard.”Pepi’s came awfully close late in the game when Daryl Goehring made a run down to Itesm’s left post.
“As soon as Edgar (Mancera) served it, I thought I had a chance to get to it,” he said. “I had my eye on it the whole way, but another body just flicked it at the last and redirected it. So unfortunately, I couldn’t get that one.”While one got by him on a defensive breakdown, goalie Kyle Mercer was definitely the best player on the field for Pepi’s. He made numerous stops, including a SportsCenter-style save, punching an Itesm header over the bar at the last possible moment.”Insane,” Hayslip said while shaking his head. “He’s an amazing goalie and we’d be nowhere without him. You need that. He keeps us in the games. We’d be down, 3-0, if it weren’t for him.”
“That was Kyle’s best game of the season by far, maybe in the last five years,” Goehring said. “He played outstanding, just acrobatic saves, left and right. It’s great to watch something like that. They got the header. You could see it going into the goal and he just pops his hand out and directs it over. He kept us in the game numerous times.”Pepi’s is next in action at the State Cup in Boulder Aug. 14-15.Vail, ColoradoSports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or via cfreud@vaildaily,com.