Orange reign: Vail Montain soccer on top of the heap
There is a certain amount of pride when I hit the top of Vail Pass after watching one of our schools win a title.
Sure, we’re all used to the Interstate 70 trek — when it comes to travel for fans who trek all over the state watching their team, it’s a short one. (Think Craig, Delta, Rangely, all the classics.) But I’m driving through Denver, which seems like a huge city having lived here for nearly 19 years. Heck, coming out of the tunnel, Silverthorne and Dillon seem big (by lighting) in comparison to what you see when you’re making your final descent into Vail on I-70.
And then I think, as the turns on the road become more familiar and looking at the little lights dotting the side of the road, a state-championship team came from here?
Yeah, it did.
Put another star on the shirts, people. The Vail Mountain School soccer team is a two-time state champion.
This occurred to me when I was checking out Facebook and saw a picture VMS alum Chris Robinson and his two boys, all clad in orange. Robinson played in that first orange game back in 1998. The final score of that one? In a moment of serendipity, it was a 7-0 win over Bishop Machebeuf.
Truth be told, you could see Tuesday’s game coming. The Gore Rangers were well-spoken in postgame leading up to Tuesday’s game, saying all the right things, but they’re lousy poker players.
Whenever I brought up Dawson, they talked about being better (superior) than their former selves, etc., but you could see the daggers coming out of their eyes.
VMS knew it was the best team in 2A and Tuesday was time to show it. The Gore Rangers were simply playing a different game than Dawson.
As for it being the most-lopsided state title game in CHSAA soccer history, well, it was a title game, not a glorified scrimmage against Grand Valley.
In a little bit of an awkward moment, Sydney Sappenfield scored the seventh goal just as coach Bob Bandoni was calling off the attack. It was actually kind of funny that the coach was upset with a goal being scored. I guess that’s why he’s your 3A/2A Slope Coach of the Year. (Sorry, Bob, obligatory.) Of course, I get the sportsmanship principle, but El Syd had one heck of a shot. (She’s a sniper and she sniped. Yes, that’s a verb and have Ross and Heather ever called their daughter that? We’re getting far too deep into stream of consciousness writing here.)
OK, we’re back. It’s the worst kept secret in the world that VMS is moving up to 3A next year. Tuesday’s game was a demonstration of why.
A second trophy
The fact that VMS soccer is moving to 3A, in no way should take away from the team repeating in 2A. That is a tremendous accomplishment. Perhaps an illustration might be the 2010, 2012 and 2014 San Francisco Giants.
Yes, this is an obligatory reference, but players get hurt. They have a hard time replicating their performance of the previous season. Teams come at the defending champs with everything they have. (See the first Dawson game.)
Of course, VMS soccer, as a program, has always emphasized the process rather than the results, but it was an unspoken concept — anything short of a repeat would have been a bad year.
As it turned out, it was a very good year.
News and notes
• I’m very proud of goalie Holly Parker. I tried to tiptoe around her rough outing against Dawson the first time. She cut to the chase quickly, saying, “It was my worst game of the season.” She owned it and made up for it. Solid.
• Did everyone notice how both Front Range Christian and Dawson tried to get physical with Tess Johnson to get her off her game? Umm, folks, Johnson’s a moguls skier who’s had to have had some serious crashes in training and competitions. Pushing her to the turf just ain’t going to do it.
• They’re a year apart, but Anwyn Urquhart and Johnson share the same brain. I’ve seen these combinations when players operate on the same brain wave length, and they just know where the other is. (The most recent example was Acacia Ortiz and Emily Cope at Battle Mountain.) It’s going to be fun to watch you these two, and Emma Hall continue to work together.
• Most creative use of orange went to Oliver Compton, who was wearing a bright orange Marlins shirt. Best use of orange in its righteous form, as always, goes to Sean Weller. Best orange hat goes to Peter Ferraro. (It was a combination papal miter with octopus tentacles.)
• Along those line Ferraro wasn’t the only VMS boys soccer player at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Tuesday. I hope you all took a good long look at the place, gents. Let’s do this again in the fall.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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