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Playoff time for Huskies, Gore Rangers and Devils

Vail Mountain soccer cheering for Eagle Valley and, dare we say, Aspen?

Welcome to the postseason, where Battle Mountain, VMS and Eagle Valley are all cheering for each other to advance deep into the playoffs.

“I’d really like to see all three of the teams in our league go through. Not only would that help our seeding once we get through, but it will help the respect our league gets,” Huskies coach David Cope said. “If you look at the 4A rankings this year, none of our teams were in it all year. I think, in order to change that, you have to go win the games that count.”

“It would also be a great thing if all three local teams went through. We have a lot of respect for the teams in our league and we’d like to see them go. But, even more so, it would be great to see Eagle Valley and Vail Mountain all go through.”

All three teams start their postseason quests Saturday. In 3A, VMS hosts Bishop Machebeuf, while Eagle Valley heads to the James Irwin School in Colorado Springs. Up in 4A, Battle Mountain travels to Alamosa. Here’s the rundown on postseason soccer from East Vail to Gypsum:

VMS vs. Machebeuf

This ought to give VMS fans a chuckle.

VMS and Machebeuf met four years ago in an improbable state-seeding game between two very bad teams, which turned into one of the more memorable games in Gore Rangers’ history. In a team meeting the day before the game, VMS coach Bob Bandoni handed out orange jerseys to his charges for the first time. Spurred by Dutch fever, the Gore Rangers throttled the Buffaloes 7-0 and orange became the postseason staple in East Vail.

VMS’ record: 10-3 overall; 8-2, second in the 3A Slope

Machebeuf record: 7-7-1 overall; 3-5-1, seventh in the Metro

Buffaloes to watch: Greg Novy, 13 goals and 10 assists; Jo Pfluger, 11 goals and three assists; goalie Mark Howard, 0.818 save percentage.

Results of note: Beat Nederland, 10-0, beat Colorado Academy, 1-0, lost to Kent Denver, 1-0, lost to Faith Christian, 3-2, and lost to conference champion Holy Family, 7-0.

Bandoni on the Buffaloes: “The only thing we know is their results and they lost to Kent Denver 1-0 and they lost to Faith Christian 3-2. So if that’s any indication, then I think this league is a very competitive one. I would assume we’re going to be in for a fairly fierce competition.”

Battle Mountain at Alamosa

According to Cope, the Huskies will be looking in the mirror when they face Alamosa in 4A regional action.

“They were third in their league. We were third in our league,” Cope said.

“It’s a similar-sized high school with similar demographics. They have a couple of creative boys in the midfield. So do we. They don’t have a big goal scorer. Really, neither do we.”

If Alamosa has a 6-foot-7 goalie, we’ll know something’s up.

All kidding aside, the Huskies will be looking to reverse a trend of postseason disappointment. Battle Mountain’s been to the postseason in each of the last four years and been blanked in its last four outings. You have to go back to 1998 – ironically, the last time all three local teams made the postseason – to find the last time the Huskies scored in the postseason. For the trivia enthusiasts, Eric Brown, Mark Perna, Juan Macias and Jesse Maddex all scored in a 6-2 win over Heritage Christian on Oct. 24, 1998.

“That’s a challenge for me as a coach to keep people happy and playing and enjoying it,” Cope said. “It’s a challenge for the players to motivate themselves, to say, “OK, this is where the games get difficult and this is where the games get fun.’ You’re playing teams from other parts of the state. You’re playing teams you don’t know. You get to test yourself.”

Huskies’ record: 7-5-2 overall; 4-4-2, third in the 4A Slope

Maroons’ record: 7-5-2 overall; 7-5-2, third in the South Central Conference

Stats and notes: Six of the eight teams in the South Central Conference have Pueblo in their names. … The Maroons outscored their opponents 18-16. … Their goalie is Jake Streeter.

Results of note: Two 2-0 losses to conference champion Pueblo Centennial. … A series split with second-place Canon City – a 1-0 loss and a 5-3 win.

Eagle Valley at James Irvine School

The Devils are making their first appearance in the postseason since 1998. That year, led by Ryan Dee, Eagle Valley rolled Ouray/Ridgway in the first round of the state playoffs, before falling to No. 1 Colorado Academy.

As for the James Irwin School, the Devils are truly in The Undiscovered Country. James Irwin is a 2A school – 188 students – in Colorado Springs. Its mascot is the Jaguars and the team wears silver, navy and white. After that, you’re on your own.

Senior Matt Hogoboom, your thoughts?

“I haven’t heard a lot about them. I know the second-place team in their league, St. Mary’s, was beat by Aspen earlier this season. We’ve been working on the small-sided stuff. We want to control the ball, not just to play kickball.”

It should be noted that the Devils went 1-1 against Aspen.

Around the Slope

In 3A, Aspen seems to have a pretty good draw in Belleview Christian, the No. 4-seed from the Independent/Mile High. League champion Basalt has a bye through regionals… In 4A, Glenwood, the No. 1 seed out of the Slope, hosts either Brighton or Silver Creek, depending on Wednesday night’s action. … Steamboat hosts Fort Lupton.


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