Prep notebook: Vail Mountain takes down Battle Mountain in boys lacrosse
Soccer starts the week and track meet will end it
The second matchup in two weeks between No. 8 Vail Mountain School and Battle Mountain was nearly identical to the first: right down to the wire. On March 26, the Gore Rangers earned a 10-9 victory in Edwards and on Tuesday, they squeaked out a 9-8 win on their home field.
“They’re a well coached and tough-nosed team,” VMS head coach Steve Michel said of the Huskies. “So it’s always going to be a battle.”
“We are so lucky to have excellent teams in our league,” Battle Mountain coach Connor Compton stated. “It makes every game matter, with very few cupcakes.”
Jaden Weiss, Kyle Parliament and Leo Rothenburg were instrumental in helping the Huskies storm to a 5-2 lead early, but the Gore Rangers chipped away at the deficit steadily. A savvy defensive play by Sebastian Kohlofer gave way to a tying goal by Mason Geller with one second left in the half.
In a back-and-forth second half, neither team took more than a one-goal lead, but stellar offensive execution by VMS undergirded the storyline and eventual victory.
“The VMS offense is organized,” Compton noted of his opponents. “They listen to their coaches and execute — good athletes who work hard.”
Michel was pleased in his players’ mature decision making.
“Early in the season, we were taking the first good shot, but now we’re looking for the best shot, and that’s really the difference,” he said, mentioning a fading reliance on transitioning scoring.
“We did better six-on-six,” he said. “In even situations, to be able to sit there and just work the ball and look for good shots and put them home.”
VMS senior Drew Bolster, an attackman in 2021, saw a need in goal and worked all off-season to make the position switch.
“He played great,” Michel praised. “He’s definitely been a difference-maker for us.”
Peter Hughes scored the go-ahead goal with 3 minutes to go, sealing the win and moving the Gore Rangers to 6-1 as a battle of 4A Western League titans looms on Saturday. No. 7 Eagle Valley, who handily beat the Huskies earlier this month, pays a visit at 11 a.m.
“They’re talented,” Michel said of the Devils. The coach isn’t concerned about motivating his players.
“Our kids are always going to come out and battle. If you can’t get up for this game, I don’t know what to tell you,” he said.
Eagle Valley rolled over Golden 17-9 in boys lacrosse Saturday to move to 6-1 as well. Eric Hasley and Julius Petersen each scored six goals, with Erich Petersen leading the team in assists with six dimes.
“Saturday went well. Good ball movement was key in our victory,” coach Weston Gleiss wrote in a postgame email.
Though Michel is focused on playing Steamboat Springs on Thursday, he knows limiting the Devils’ trio will be decisive.
“You’re not going to stop the Petersens — they’re good players — but we have to contain them,” Michel said.
“They’re going to get some, but we can’t let them take over the game.”
Vail Mountain School defeated Basalt 11-4 on Monday to move to 6-1 on the year. As of the most recent CHSSA poll, the Gore Rangers are No. 4 in 3A, with Aspen (4-0) sitting in the No. 5 spot. Vail Mountain faces the Skiers in a critical league match on May 5.
In Tuesday’s 4A action, No. 7 Steamboat Springs (7-0) took down Battle Mountain 5-2 on the strength of a Darby Martinez hat trick. Battle Mountain can keep its playoff hopes alive and move into a tie for second place in the league with a win on Thursday at Glenwood Springs.
Even with recent cold temperatures, the Eagle Valley track team is heating things up on Saturday when they host 15 teams at their home invitational in Gypsum beginning at 9 a.m.
“After two years of the pandemic, it feels great to have a normal season back, even if the weather has been cold,” head coach Jeff Shroll wrote in an email. Shroll has been pleased with the performances thus far from his young team, including double wins from freshman Zakia Shreeve in the 100 meters and long jump last week in Salida.
“Once she gets her technique and form down, she will be a powerful force,” Shroll stated.
Samantha Blair has been an athlete to watch in everything from the 300 hurdles up through the mile since she first donned the Devil race kit, and will be looking to continue improving as the season progresses.
“She is such a workhorse and leads by example,” Shroll commented. One athlete who has been training with Blair every step of the way is senior Jordan Neifert, who is hoping to return to state in the 3200. Thrower Lindsey Alvarez is another senior whom Shroll said is improving each week.
Pole Vaulter Ian Pennington is expected to have a great day on his home pit and Yanitsu Carbajal, who has triple-jumped his way into Colorado Milesplit’s top-10 list, is another athlete to watch on Saturday.
Being a middle-distance guy himself, the coach is a bit biased as to what his most anticipated event of the meet will be. “Of course I love the 4×400 at the end of the day!” he exclaimed.
“Proud of this team and coaching staff and the parent support,” he continued.
“Feels good to be back in-season again.”