Sandbaggers? Pepi’s makes quarters
EDWARDS, Colorado ” If things keep going the way they are, the Pepi’s men’s soccer team may have a new moniker by the end of the Vail Invitational Soccer Tournament.
Meet your Vail Sandbaggers?
The local 11 has a bit more time to debate its possible name change after going 2-0 Saturday to finish pool play and advance to today’s quarterfinals of the Vail Invitational at 11:30 a.m. at the Vail Athletic Field.
After a rather dormant performance in a 4-0 loss to Colorado Sporting Premier Friday, the Pepi’s Sandbaggers bounced back in fine style Saturday. They knocked off Union Laguna, 3-1, and then came back from a 1-0 deficit against F.C. Denver with two late goals from Steven Cavinder to go through to the Elite Eight.
“I think we had a little more confidence and worked a little harder together and had a little more fun,” Pepi’s’ Mike Sarbaugh said.
“We actually looked like a team today,” the team’s coach, Kyle Mercer, said. “We looked like we knew what we were doing. We defended well. Obviously, we were able to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Pepi’s’ chances of advancing to the quarters looked slim as its game against Denver progressed. The visitors took a 1-0 lead in the first half, and Pepi’s could only move on with a win, so the locals were essentially down by two goals.
Enter Cavinder. He took a slick pass from Ryan Quintall and threaded his shot into the back of the net. Before anyone got settled back down, Pepi’s charged down the field with more pressure.
“I think we just never gave up,” Cavinder said. “We knew we were going to win. We knew we were the better team. We just had to put them away.”
Pepi’s got off a shot, and the rebound came to Cavinder who had the whole left of the net open.
“The ball came through,” Cavinder said. “I was waiting for it. I just had to have a touch pass past the defender and put it away. The keeper was out of position.”
And with that, the locals ended up 2-1 in pool play, earned the second berth to the round of eight and could be courteous hosts at Saturday’s postgame barbecue, staged for all the teams of the tournament.
Against Union Laguna, Miguel Ruiz, Cavinder, and Dane Jacobs scored.
Pepi’s likely faces Three Lions today at the Vail Athletic Field at 11:30. The only scenario that could change that would be Centauros beating Superfly, 3-0, today at 9:15 a.m., to win its pool and bump the Three Lions into a different quarterfinal.
Pepi’s doubtless would like to see Three Lions today, as they eliminated the locals in the quarterfinals, 2-0, last year.
“Three Lions is going to win their group? Are you kidding me? Awesome,” Mercer said. “That’s music to my ears.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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