Pepi’s starts with draw
EAST VAIL ” Friday is fine day for ties. As pool play in the Vail Invitational Soccer Tournament continues today, ties may not get the job done.
The Pepi’s men’s soccer team and the Ex-Jesuits opened the 36th annual tournament Friday evening with a 1-1 draw at Bandoni Alumni Field in East Vail. Under the tourney’s 10-point scoring system ” six for a win, three for a tie, one for each goal scored to three and one for a shutout, both teams have two games today in Pool A and four points in the bank.
For two teams very familiar with each other ” the Ex-Jesuits are mostly Regis grads who made up the Colorado Rocks, semifinalists last year in Vail ” ties are not an unfamiliar situation.
“Every year our first game is really rough,” Ex-Jesuits player-coach Tommy Gilhooly said. “I’m hoping we just settle down and do something a little more in these next two games.”
Pepi’s made the quarterfinals last fall with a 1-0-2 pool record, so the result was nothing new.
“We never really play well against these guys,” Pepi’s striker Nacen Gray said. “We’ve been playing them for a long time. They’re a strong team. We played really well. Everyone’s still fresh because everyone got to play. It’s totally positive.”
Pepi’s plays Casual F.C. today at noon at the Vail Athletic Field, followed by the Bootleggers at 5:45 p.m. at the turf pitch at Freedom Park in Edwards, while the Rocks have the same two teams at 3:45 p.m. and noon, respectively. Both teams will be looking to go 2-0, and will have an eye on each other.
That’s because just pool winners are assured of going through to Sunday’s quarterfinals and there are only four wild card spots for the tournament’s remaining 14 sides. A record of 2-0-1 would do the trick. Marks of 1-0-2 or 1-1-1 get dicey.
“Two wins,” Gray said. “We want to win them all. We don’t want to rely on any point scenario or the year of the coin toss.”
That would be 2003 when Pepi’s and Littleton finished pool play at 1-0-2 and had to go down to the last aforementioned tiebreaker. A call of heads won the day for the locals.
In what looked at times like a Battle Mountain soccer reunion, Andy Banner, Class of 2005, gave Pepi’s a 1-0 lead midway through the first half.
“It was on the counter-attack,” Banner said. “I worked it in from the left from Eddie (Schoenbein). I did a little fake-age. I finished it with the outside of my right foot.”
There’s no ruling yet on whether fake-age is a word, but we’ll leave that to tournament director Miller Lewis.
The Ex-Jesuits found the back of the net on an own goal. Lance Snodgrass attempted a cross into the box that ended up bouncing off two Pepi’s’ players and into the net.
“It doesn’t matter how it goes in,” Gray said. “Anyway you can and they all count.”
Both teams had scoring chances in the second half, but could not capitalize.
Just for kicks
Congratulations to Edgar and Marie Mancera. They welcomed the daughter, Azul, to the world on Monday. When not busy changing diapers, Edgar is one of Pepi’s’ strikers. … Orange at Vail Mountain: Especially for the former Battle Mountain players on Pepi’s, it had to be a little strange playing a team in orange at Bandoni Alumni Field. The Huskies former rival ” the Vail Mountain School ” changes to orange jerseys for the postseason.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.