Playoff time for Huskies and Gore Rangers
Wednesday, May 9
(3) Battle Mountain vs. (14) Windsor, 4 p.m.
(16) Battle Mountain vs. (17) Sand Creek, 6:30 p.m.
(23) Vail Mountain at (10) Salida, 5 p.m.
Break out the hoodies and break out the orange.
It’s playoff time.
Battle Mountain has a playoff doubleheader on Wednesday, May 9, with boys lacrosse hosting Windsor at 4 p.m., and girls soccer taking on Sand Creek at 6:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, Vail Mountain School heads down to Salida for a 5 p.m. first-round game.
We break it all down for you here at playoff central.
I am constitutionally required to say, “We’re off to see the Wizards, the wonderful Wizards …” Windsor has one of the best mascots.
OK, back to actual sporting analysis.
What’s been interesting about this team is that it ain’t your older brother’s Battle Mountain lacrosse team. The offense doesn’t score goals in bunches, though it has hit double-digits in goals during its last four games.
This team is about defense, goaltending and, in a serious break from the past, discipline.
I just knocked wood to prevent a parade to the penalty box in Wednesday’s game.
Seriously, though, while there are some impressive numbers involved with Battle Mountain lacrosse — like Jeremy Sforzo’s 33 assists — 4.6 is the biggest stat.
That’s the Huskies’ goals-against average for the season.
That takes skill and grit, the latter, perhaps, being a missing element of Battle Mountain lacrosse in years past. Charlie Morrow missed the first five games of the season. Sforzo missed action during the middle of the season and Bryce Runckel was out for a good part of April, and the Huskies found a way to keep winning.
And it’s why there’s a quiet confidence in Edwards about the postseason.
The Wizards lost to Steamboat Springs, Fruita Monument and Littleton, while the Huskies were 2-1 against those squads. If one believes in transitivity, then this should be a snap.
Transitivity and $5, of course, will buy you a fancy cup of coffee.
Playing “We lacrosse,” digging ground balls and sticking to a defense-first philosophy is probably a better game plan than transitivity.
Gore Rangers soccer
Apparently, Vail Mountain School soccer beat Battle Mountain, 2-1, on Saturday, May 5. The Gore Rangers fan base has informed me by email, telephone, fireworks and carrier pigeon.
One of the more interesting parts of the parental feedback was calling Saturday’s game, “a significant upset.”
Is it impressive that a 2A-sized school beat a 4A one? Yes. Upset? Umm, no.
If we open our history books, children, then Vail Mountain beat Battle Mountain last year. Beating a team two years in a row does not an upset make.
What is significant is that VMS seems to have the gang back together. Since the Gore Rangers are engaged in a lot of winter sports and, this year, had the double whammy of different spring breaks for the school and the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, the Gore Rangers finally got everyone together last week and it showed — a 4-0 win at Basalt, a 4-0 win at Coal Ridge and a 2-1 win, if we haven’t mentioned it yet at Battle Mountain.
I’m most impressed by winning at Coal Ridge because that is not a wide pitch and, if you haven’t played VMS Soccer: The Home Game, coach Bob Bandoni likes wide. The Bandoni would play the width of Grand Canyon, if allowed.
Winning on a narrow pitch and on grass like at Coal Ridge prepares the Gore Rangers for Salida. The Spartans and Gore Rangers have nothing resembling a common opponent, but it says here that playing the likes of Battle Mountain, Mullen and Dawson should put VMS in good stead.
Then, there is the final question:
• Will Bandoni repeat The Great Paonia Incident of 2003? (Has it really been 15 years?) Play nicely with the other children, Bob. As for the Gore Rangers, don’t play too nicely.
OK, Saturday’s loss was a bit of a wakeup call for Battle Mountain, and that’s not the worst thing in the world.
It dropped the Huskies to No. 16 in the infernal rating-percentage index, but this team hasn’t done anything easily in 2018. It’s kind of the group’s calling card.
Battle Mountain’s played in nine games this season decided by one goal or fewer and is 5-3-1 and 2-1-1 in extra time. The tie was against D’Evelyn and that’s the No. 4 team in the 4A bracket.
That’s playoff soccer — games where one goal, one play, one misplay decides the game. What’s more, the Huskies have been pretty much been playing playoff soccer since March, after losing to Steamboat Springs to fall to 1-2 in the 4A Slope.
Getting to the playoffs after a year’s layoff is nice. It’s even better to win in the postseason.
And don’t forget your hoodies, ladies.
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