Vail Christian Saints fall to CRMS, 3-0 |

Vail Christian Saints fall to CRMS, 3-0

Vail Christian's Zoey Barela works her way upfield against the Colorado Rocky Mountain School on Wednesday during the Saints' 3-0 loss to the Pearls at Edwards' Freedom Park.
Mort Mulliken | Daily file photo

EDWARDS — It can be a cruel game.

For most of the first half on Wednesday, Vail Christian soccer seemed to be in control and even hit the Colorado Rocky Mountain School crossbar before the visiting Pearls scored on a breakaway late in the first 40 minutes on their way to a 3-0 win over the Saints at Edwards’ Freedom Park.

“I think we’re playing really well,” senior Gretchen Pavelich said. “We have some highlight moments and sometimes we lose it. … We can do it. We just have to put 80 minutes together.”

Vail Christian coach Barbara Wilson couldn’t agree more.

“First 20 minutes, we were sending it wide, working it,” she said. “We have to work on through ball (defensively). It’s still fighting to play 80 minutes the way we want to play.”

The turning point

The Saints (3-3) left Freedom Park a little frustrated, because they were on the wrong end of a 3-0 decision after having played so well during the first half. (Again, soccer can be cruel.)

By all rights, Vail Christian should have had a goal or two, having dominated the early phases of the match. The most frustrating sequence was Zoey Barela smacking her shot off the crossbar.

And as everyone who’s watched soccer knows, in moments like those, a team is vulnerable to the counterattack, which is exactly what CRMS did.

The Pearls’ Zea Anderson got the through ball, to which Wilson referred, and she broke in all alone on the Saints’ end and put one past Vail Christian goalie Grace McCurdy for a 1-0 lead at halftime.

And herein lies the Challenge for Vail Christian soccer — rebounding from a half when it dominated the run of play, yet trailed on the nonexistent scoreboard at Freedom Park.

“One of our C’s is composure,” Wilson said of composure, commitment, confidence, character and Christ. “If we let in a goal, that’s fine. We compose ourselves. We’re still not sure how to read the game, just being able to read the game a little faster. Part of that is age and part is experience.”

The Saints are going to have to learn on the run as the roster has 23 players with only four seniors. Thursday likely gets chalked up as a learning experience on this front as things got away from Vail Christian in the second half.

Sophomore goalie McCurdy probably wants the Pearls’ second goal back — she seemed to have a bead on it, only to have it slip through her hands. It should be noted that McCurdy has only six games of experience between the pipes and she is working with the squad’s in-house goalie coach, Rob Wilson, learning as she goes.

To McCurdy’s credit, the sophomore made a bunch of saves on tougher CRMS shots that became more frequent as the second half progressed.

Anderson struck again 52nd minute to put the game out of reach at 3-0.

Postseason hunt

The Saints hit the halfway point of their season on Thursday and keenly want to earn only the second postseason berth in the program’s history (2016). Entering Thursday’s game, CRMS was 11th in the rating-percentage index and Vail Christian was 12th. Twelve is the magic number in 2A soccer.

However, the RPI gyrates after Thursday’s result, the Saints have five more matches to control their postseason fate, starting with Saturday’s tilt at Evangelical Christian.

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