‘Round up usual suspects’ for state soccer awards

Vail Mountain School coach Bob Bandoni huddles with his team before the 2A state-title game earlier this month against the Dawson School down on the Front Range. Bandoni was named the 2A state Coach of the Year.
Chris Freud | |

It really does feel like I rewrite some articles, but sometimes they’re fun to rewrite.

State soccer awards came out on Saturday, and, as Claude Rains said, “Round up the usual suspects.”

(Kids, you should know from what movie that came. The answer follows.)

At 4A, Eagle Valley’s Mariel Gutierrez was a slam-dunk first-teamer. Five-hundred goals in a season will usually do that. (OK, it was just 37, but that’s still pretty good.)

Battle Mountain’s Emily Cope and Logan Nash roped second-team honors, and Acacia Ortiz was an honorable mention.

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For our 2A state champions Vail Mountain School Gore Rangers — it’s fun to type that — Tess Johnson is all-state as a freshman. Emma Hall is on the second team.

And yes, ladies and gents, we give you the Colorado Class 2A Coach of the Year — Vail Mountain School’s Bob Bandoni.

The 4A four

What more do you say about these ladies (and Bob) that hasn’t been said? Gutierrez’s not only carried her team to the playoffs, but has re-established the sport at Eagle Valley. Her legacy to that program is going to be felt for years. There is a ton of talent in the program that has learned how to win because of her.

Sure, it might be bumpy replacing her presence in the near future, but she has lit the way for future Devils teams.

Nash is a portrait of perseverance. She tore her ACL in both knees her sophomore year, and still put up 75 goals in three seasons. Nash heads for the University of Minnesota-Duluth as Battle Mountain’s single-season (31) and career goal-scoring leader. (Kelsey Sanders held the previous marks at 30 for a season and 69 in a career.)

Sanders is a nice transition to Ortiz and Cope, who share the same brain, and we mean this in the nicest way. They are so in tune with each other that they don’t need to speak to each other. Sanders had this style of psychic-friends network relationship with Julia Burnett in the day. Marissa Ammaturo and Lizzie Seibert, also great names from the past, simply functioned on the same brainwave as well.

The most telling moment of the season was how Steamboat Springs coach Rob Bohlmann played these two. He had his forwards crash Battle Mountain’s outside backs to prevent the ball from getting to Ortiz and Cope.

Bohlmann knows Battle Mountain better than anyone than except for Huskies coach David Cope, and correctly identified the way to slow down Battle Mountain — stop Ortiz and Cope.

And, by the by, this selection should really be proving the point that Emily is a very good soccer player, regardless of her last name. And if you still doubt it, then she’ll prove you wrong again next spring.

Guarding Tess and Emma

No, Claude Rains wasn’t in “Guarding Tess.” How dare we compare a Nicholas Cage-Shirley MacLane movie to the great “Casablanca” with Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Sydney Greenstreet and Rains as Inspector Renault — “I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here.”

(Seriously, kids, Casablanca is one of the finest of all times. Watch it.)

But guarding Tess Johnson was kind of hard this year, as evidenced by her scoring the Gore Rangers’ goals in their 1-0 win over Denver Christian in the semifinals and 2-1 against Dawson in the final.

Hall is a correct fellow all-state pick as they work together so well. They play diagonally together, and cut at the end line just as they practice it.

One note on the all-state player voting — Class 2A was lumped in with 3A on Saturday, so that would be why there are not more Gore Rangers are on this team. Anyone who is sad about not making all-state may console themselves by looking at the nice, shiny state-title trophy. (Still fun to type.)

Way to go, Coach

Speaking of fun, yeah, he’s the Coach of the Year.

Bandoni’s response was to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press and was last seen heading to Paonia, doing his best Sally Field impression, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”

OK, maybe not.

Reducing ourselves to cliches, there is no I in team and there is no I in Bandoni — just go with it, people — and the coach wanted this framed in the light of a team coaching award, including the Brain Trust, assistant coaches Sylvan Ellefson, Chris Woods and Kaitlyn Zdechlik.

But the buck did stop with him — wrong Democratic administration in the 20th Century, I know — so the Bandon — a-ha, there is no I in that — may now bring that imprimatur — or not, in its technical definition — to his future endeavors, including yelling, “Come on, man,” at the Red Sox.

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