The games play on as VMS wins |

The games play on as VMS wins

It’s been a trying week at Eagle Valley High School in the wake of the auto accident which killed junior Skylar Hootman and and left both Travis Hansbarger and Laura Sandoval in the hospital. But the Eagle Valley soccer team took one small step back to whatever’s normal, by playing Thursday.

“They have a lot of courage coming out and playing games this week,” Devils coach Brian Large. “I’m proud of them, win or lose. They played a real good game today. They just came up short.”

The Vail Mountain School did win the game 4-3. But after an understandably listless performance at Aspen in a 7-0 loss Tuesday, the Devils were competitive from kickoff through the final whistle Thursday.

Eagle Valley certainly got off to a nice start. Jordan Miekle scored in the first minute on a feed from Matt Hogoboom for an early 1-0 lead. It was clear that offense was going to be the order of the day when Devils goalie Ross Herr was whistled for tripping up VMS striker Andrew Feldman. The senior converted the penalty kick, going to the lower left corner.

The Devils went into intermission up 2-1 when VMS keeper Michael Busenhart had an uncharacteristic muff on a save. Paige Mickley was there on the right side and he slammed it home for a 2-1 lead.

“They shut half of the field down really effectively,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “We are not accustomed to playing through as much as we should be. So we were still playing fairly short in terms of our possession. What we were missing was diagonal balls into the flanks. That’s where the space was. We’re pleased that at halftime we discussed it and the team responded to it.”

That it did. Sophomore Patrick Scanlan did the honors with a lovely shot from 32 yards which caught the left corner up top to tie it at two.

“I stole the ball from their defender. I looked and saw my buddy Ross there in the goal and I decided to put it over his head,” said Scanlan with a laugh, referring to Herr, a club-soccer and ski-racing buddy.

From there, it was Feldman. Sophomore Zachary Lucido, getting his first taste of varsity action, made a nice run down the left side and found Feldman, who ripped the twine.

“This is Zach’s first varsity experience and I think he had a good time,” Feldman said. “I think he learned a little and showed everyone on the team what he could do. He did a good job and it resulted in a goal.”

Hogoboom answered with a goal, but in the 76th minute, the Gore Rangers got the game-winner. Duncan Robinson took an indirect kick and served it into the box. Herr did a nice job on the first save, but Feldman was there for his second hat trick of the season.

“We were trying to get Andrew at different angles to the game,” Bandoni said. “What we were trying to do is serve diagonal balls and have our players running at diagonals as well. I thought Patrick Scanlan made really important adjustments in the second half in their style of play. They were picking their heads up and looking to play much faster where the space was.”

Just for kicks: There was a moment of silence observed at midfield for Hootman by both teams before the game and VMS fans presented Eagle Valley’s varsity and junior varsity teams with goodie bags after the game. … VMS’ Jake Utzig was hurt during the first half and did not return. … Eagle Valley is 5-8 overall and 3-4 in the 3A Slope. The Devils are at Paonia on Saturday. … Meanwhile, VMS, 8-1 and 8-2, rolls into Aspen for an 11 a.m. start. … In other 3A slope action Saturday, Roaring Fork is at Basalt.

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