Steamboat Springs beats Vail Mountain
EAST VAIL — It’s a measure of how much the world has changed when Vail Mountain School lacrosse is a little disappointed with finishing the season at 13-2.
Steamboat Springs built a 4-0 first-half lead against the Gore Rangers and never looked back in an 8-5 win on Saturday at Bandoni Alumni Field in East Vail.
That’s not how Senior Day is meant to be scripted. But maybe it’s the kick in the pants VMS needs going into the postseason.
“It’s definitely been a helluva season, a good time with the boys,” senior attacker Luke Verratti said. “But I think a loss at the end of the regular season is a good thing to refocus us for the playoffs. … I hate losing. I hope this fuels us.”
The record of 13-2 is the best in the program’s history. The Gore Rangers won their first conference title on Friday night in Round 1 with the Sailors. Other firsts include beating Aspen and sweeping Battle Mountain.
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And the Gore Rangers are going to the playoffs. The only question is whether they stay in the top four in the rating-percentage index for the field of 16, which comes out on chssanow.com.
The very distinguished VMS lacrosse class of 2017 is Verratti, Dylan Hardenbergh, Nick Charles, Todger Davis, Peter Tice, Kyle Negomir, Griffin O’Connell and Tyler Hancock.
“They are the pioneers of Vail Mountain School lacrosse,” VMS coach Bobby Ecker said. “Their freshman year was the first year we were a varsity program. They were pretty much playing varsity as freshmen. They’ve carried this team.”
Saturday was a very chippy affair, no surprise given it was the second meeting in 24 hours between the two teams. Steamboat’s Talik Mhyre, Jacob Gilbertson and Max Lynch built a 4-0 lead for the visitors before Davis scored for VMS with three seconds left in the half.
VMS looked like it was mounting a comeback in the third with Tyler Hancock, Henry Hancock and Davis scoring. Midway through the third quarter, the Gore Rangers were down just 5-4.
The Sailors’ Lynch completed his hat trick, halting the momentum and Steamboat added goals by David LaPointe and Kieran Hahn to close it out.
“It’s obviously disappointing, but it’s a great lesson for our team,” Ecker said. “We haven’t been put in many situations when we’ve had to come from behind. Going into the playoffs, that’s a great lesson to learn.”
With the win, Steamboat (8-7), ranked 11th in the RPI before Saturday’s game, doubtless secured a playoff spot. Western Conference teams Battle Mountain and Summit County also appeared to be holding down Nos. 15 and 16, respectively in the RPI.
The 4A bracket comes out Monday and first-round games must be completed by Wednesday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.