So, are there any big soccer games in the offing?
Vail Mountain (1) vs. Denver Christian (4), at All City Stadium, Denver, 5 p.m.
Windsor (5) at Battle Mountain, 3 p.m.
Game, er, games on.
We’re all heading down to Denver to All City Stadium for the 2A semifinals and Vail Mountain School today versus Denver Christian at 5 p.m. We return immediately because Thursday at 3 p.m. is the 4A state quarterfinal at Battle Mountain against Windsor.
The rundown of the games:
VMS (1) vs. Denver Christian (4), tonight at All City Stadium
Our mighty Gore Rangers are 14-1 this season, but, naturally, the one would be Denver Christian. That game was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away — March 27.
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Vail Mountain School had undergone quite the roster transformation since. Perhaps the more surprising development has been the assimilation of the players into the group. That is a credit to the players themselves and the coaching staff of Bob Bandoni and the Brain Trust. Since this is the Mountain School, which presidential administration was known for the Brain Trust? (Students only.)
The gist is that you can throw out VMS’ 4-1 loss to the Crusaders in March. (Combine that mascot with bagpipes and you’d have the perfect Bandoni storm.)
This is not to say that the Gore Rangers will walk to a win. Anything but. Denver Christian has always been a good soccer program at 3A or 2A, spring or fall. Truth be told, the Crusaders got a bum draw from the seeding committee.
Denver Christian (10-5-1) got dinged for a strong nonconference schedule against 3A schools like Kent Denver, Colorado Academy and Liberty Common. Those three schools are ranked fourth, first and seventh, respectively in 3A, and Kent and C.A. are both alive in that classification’s quarterfinals.
So that VMS does not feel like it is playing A.C. Milan, to take a page from the Book of Bandoni, the Crusaders have lost both to Front Range Christian and Dawson, tonight’s other semifinal, and teams VMS has beaten.
Happy Orange Day
First off, I am obliged to say that Orange Days are really “Dress like Freud Days.” Come on, now. I’ve been wearing orange before Bandoni and VMS did in 1998 — the Gore Rangers boys beat Bishop Machebeuf, 7-0, in the first orange game.
Speaking of which, the first time the VMS ladies wore orange was May 6, 2005 … in a game against Denver Christian. What is really funny is that the girls at the time thought they weren’t going to get to wear orange. At the time, wearing dark unis at home was OK according to CHSAA. Bandoni just threw his team off with the excuse that the boys’ orange jerseys were too big for the girls to wear before breaking out new orange jerseys for that year’s team.
History repeated itself on Thursday before Friday’s Clear Creek game as Bandoni busted out the new orange-on-whites, which comply with CHSAA’s new rules.
Words of wisdom
I know there is a tendency to say that the Gore Rangers are young, and they have a bright future. They do. On the other hand, one never knows if such an opportunity will come up again. Nothing is guaranteed. Go get it this year.
Nothing needs to change for this one. Just play your game — move sideways to move forward, overlapping runs and patience. The Coal Ridge game is the model. You may be down a goal because Denver Christian is good and very much deserves to be there as well. Keep playing your game and you’ll be fine.
Windsor (5) at Battle Mountain (4), Thursday, 3 p.m.
So the adage is “Defense wins championships.”
Naturally, we have two high-scoring teams in Battle Mountain’s first appearance in the state eight on Thursday.
The Wizards have scored 99 goals this season. The Huskies have scored a paltry 77. (We’re just kidding, people.)
Windsor has Bailey Zehr with 29 goals. Battle Mountain has somebody named Logan Nash with 31. And, as such, our bet is that Zehr and Nash don’t score and this is a 2-1 or 1-0 defensive battle. This falls under the category of a much-ballyhooed pitching matchup in baseball that turns into a slugfest with both aces gone by the fourth inning.
And that brings us back to defense winning championships. Windsor’s allowed 10 goals all year; Battle Mountain 22. It does. What do you remember about 2012, the Huskies’ boys run to the title?
Christian Espinoza — he was good. Much overlooked was the defense.
And so the spotlight turns to Nicole Lasater and the ladies in back. This crew has had to grow up fast this spring. Ladies, you don’t have to stand on your heads on Thursday. Just be good.
OK, I confess. I have bad vision. But I’m not the only one who can’t tell apart Nash and Morgan Croke this season. Both wear white headbands across their blond hair. Both have ponytails and both have numbers ending in three.
We bring this up to say the following.
• Morgan Croke is having one heck of a season, and has been a driver in the postseason.
• Nash not only broke the school record for most goals in a season with a marker against Steamboat Springs … in the playoffs … in overtime. Nice.
• Another person with blond hair is going to score soon. Emily Cope has been getting good shots during the first two playoff games. She’s just been unlucky. It happens. It’s also coming, Emily Quinn.
The marching orders
First off, do whatever assistant coach Allison O’Neill says.
Second, you played all season for the right to host this game. I haven’t talked to head coach David Cope since Saturday, but I’d bet he’s said something about validating your seed.
And, third, yes, you all are Bossy.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @cfreud.