The race continues: Basalt, Vail Mountain draw
EAST VAIL- The 3A Western Slope girls soccer race is a big mess and it’s all your fault, Misha Harrison.
OK, the Vail Mountain School junior won’t be apologizing for this, nor should she. Harrison scored in stoppage time Saturday as Basalt and the Vail Mountain School played to a 1-1 draw Saturday in East Vail, and the 3A Slope race will go down to the final five days with the Longhorns and Gore Rangers in a dead heat.
“We’re basically where we were at the beginning of the game,” Harrison said, essentially speaking for both sides.
Basalt is 6-0-1 in the Slope, while VMS is 7-0-1. The Longhorns host Rifle Tuesday and are at Coal Ridge Thursday, and VMS will be rooting for the Bears and Titans, respectively. VMS plays Aspen twice next week (Monday at home and Thursday in Pitkin County, but the league game is Thursday) and so the Longhorns become big Skiers fans.
For the VMS readers in the audience, this is akin to Gore Rangers coach Bob Bandoni wearing a Yankees hat. But high-school sports, like politics, makes for strange bed fellows.
“It is funny,” Basalt’s Alex Dewind said of rooting for Aspen. “It comes down it to it sometimes.”
If both teams finish at 8-0-1, the next tiebreaker is goal against in league games. Basalt leads in this category with three goals-allowed, while VMS is at five, though the Longhorns play two more league contests to VMS’s one.
Dewind staked the Longhorns to a 1-0 lead in the second half.
“It went through a couple people, but it was up in the right corner,” Dewind said. “Someone dropped it back to me and I was open in the center and cut it back. I think we played a really good game. I’m proud of the team. We were passing really well. We gave it all we had.”
Basalt stymied VMS with excellent midfield play, limiting attack opportunities for the Gore Rangers. But VMS got the equalizer late. Katie Scruggs played it forward to Avery Bellis who sent it across the box. Harrison snuck up as a weak-side midfielder and banged it home.
“I was just there at the right time,” Harrison said. “I have my entire team to thank. The entire team was a part of that play.”
“I thought we played really hard,” Basalt coach Makenzie Eshelman said. “I think we went hard the whole game. We had two seconds of letdown and that was their opportunity and they capitalized.”
The Longhorns wanted offsides called on Harrison’s goal. On the other hand, VMS thought it had a Basalt handball in the Longhorns’ box. Call it a wash between two evenly-matched teams.
“It’s heartening in a sense, as far as competition goes, to have two teams in the last week of the season and go to double overtime and quite literally end with a shot on goal,” Bandoni said. “It’s about as much parity as you can want in such an important match.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
3A Slope race
After Saturday’s tie, VMS is 7-0-1 in league, while Basalt is 6-0-1. Here’s each team’s path to the league title:
VMS wins if … the Gore Rangers beat Aspen Thursday and Basalt ties or loses against Rifle Tuesday or at Coal Ridge Thursday.
Basalt wins if … the Longhorns beat Rifle Tuesday and Coal Ridge Thursday and VMS draws or loses at Aspen Thursday.
If they’re still tied at 8-0-1 … it comes down to goals-allowed in league play. Basalt leads, 3-5, in that category but plays one more league game than VMS next week.
If they’re tied after that? If goals-against ends up even, it’s a coin flip.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.