Let playoff chase begin as RPI comes out | VailDaily.com
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Let playoff chase begin as RPI comes out

First, we just had to run this photo again as this was one heck of a goal by Vail Mountain School's Tyler Hancock. And, with the first posting of the rating-percentage index on Wednesday, the Gore Rangers are No. 6 in the state.
Max Phannenstiel | Daily file photo |

The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!

Kids, if you don’t get that reference, then ask your folks.

With that, the ratings-percentage index for spring came out on Wednesday. As always please don’t shoot the messenger.

We submit the following with analysis.

Soccer

• Were the playoffs to start today, Eagle Valley would be in and Battle Mountain out. Point No. 1 — it’s the first week of April, so no one in any sport should freak out or order playoff tickets. That’s an interesting thing to write, given historical patterns.

Eagle Valley is No. 24 — 32 make the field. A good note is that the Devils’ opponents’ winning percentage (OWP), which makes up 50 percent of the RPI, is .558. Good job scheduling Wheat Ridge, Coal Ridge and the Vail Mountain School. Those three teams will keep winning in all likelihood, which is good for the Devils.

• And one of the great ironies of this system is that Eagle Valley wants Battle Mountain to win, except for tonight. At 2-5, the Huskies are No. 37. The positive side of the ledger for the Huskies is that their OWP is .649, and that’s before playing VMS, which will help that number.

As we’ve seen in the fall and the winter, it’s nice to have a tough schedule — Eagle Valley football and Battle Mountain basketball — but eventually a team needs to win games. However, after a 0-5 start, the Huskies have won two in a row and seem to be headed in the right direction on that count.

• Strange: Palisade leads the 4A Slope, but is No. 35. I don’t like the de-emphasizing of league play under RPI, but Freud, for some reason, doesn’t have a vote. Were Palisade to end up winning the league and still be outside of the top 32, the Bulldogs would still go to the playoffs.

• In 3A, Vail Mountain School is No. 11 in the first poll. This is no surprise. The Gore Rangers are pretty good. VMS will benefit from only having to play league opponents once in the 3A/2A Slope. (Remember how the Battle Mountain boys soccer got hosed in the fall with No. 9 in the playoffs?)

On the other side of the coin, remember that soccer RPI does not care about school size. VMS may be a 2A school playing in 3A for the purposes of the postseason and competing against 4A squads out of conference — Eagle Valley, Mullen, Battle Mountain and Summit County. This is a flaw in the system, but again, no vote for Freud. The Gore Rangers want to see the Huskies and Summit raise their records.

• Vail Christian soccer is No. 7 and would be in the playoffs were the season to end today. First, be careful as 2A teams, the smaller schools are a little slow to report to maxpreps.com, so this could change. We don’t have a complete picture here.

The Saints also have another way of making the playoffs, by scoring the most points of any team in Region 2. Right now the table shows Vail Christian at six; Colorado Rocky Mountain School at four and Rangely at three.

Boys lacrosse

• VMS punches into No. 6 at 8-1. That’s satisfactory in all respects, except that Aspen in No. 4. This is another Freud RPI beef. A computer system is great when comparing Durango and Sterling, teams whose geography would make them unlikely to meet. VMS has played Aspen, and the Gore Rangers won.

VMS’s OWP is low (.398). Again, the computer doesn’t care that VMS is tiny school and that beating Battle Mountain twice is a really big deal. The computer sees that the Huskies were 1-6, going into Wednesday’s game against Glenwood. Another curious note is that Ponderosa (1-4) is No. 13, so the Gore Rangers are rooting for teams like the Huskies and the Mustangs.

• Eagle Valley is No. 21 and Battle Mountain 23rd, as booth teams hope to be in the final 16. (Yes, the Huskies won Round 1 of the rivalry.) Battle Mountain is well-served so far by its schedule with a .594 OWP, but both teams need to start winning games to move into playoff contention.

Girls lacrosse

• Unlike the boys, the girls all play in one division regardless of school size. That makes it heartening that Battle Mountain is No. 16 with 20 qualifying for the postseason.

The Huskies have only played three varsity games so far, as Telluride is considered a non-varsity opponent by the RPI. (Please don’t shoot the messenger.) Bottom line — the Huskies have plenty of lacrosse to play and probably control their own destiny.

• Eagle Valley has some work to do at No. 33. Aspen is sitting on the cruelest number of them all — 21.

Baseball

• This is actually the second year for baseball and RPI. The 4A Slope sent three teams to the playoffs through the new-fangled system last year — Palisade, Delta and Rifle — and one really couldn’t argue with it.

So far, we have no hiccups like the one that had Battle Mountain finish ahead of Eagle Valley, despite the latter sweeping the former. The Devils are No. 22, one spot behind Palisade. Summit County is actually the top team in the league, according to RPI, at No. 12.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.


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