Vail Mountain beats Eagle Valley boys lacrosse 10-9
Vail Mountain uses 6-0 run in first half to win critical league matchup
In a game defined by its momentum changes, Vail Mountain got in the biggest punch, using a 6-0 first half run to fuel a 10-9 victory over Eagle Valley in boys lacrosse Wednesday night in Gypsum.
“It was a great game, way more fun than the last time,” Eagle Valley coach Weston Gleiss said.
To keep the boxing metaphors going, they had to dance around the ring a little bit and avoid any big swings in the final rounds, too, as the Devils mounted a valiant fourth quarter comeback.
“I felt like they did a lot better job of bringing themselves up instead of dwelling on the mistakes. They were focusing on the next play,” Gleiss said about his athletes’ resilience.
Eager to prove its 12-6 loss on April 9 was a fluke, Eagle Valley came out hot, racing to an early 3-0 lead. Vail Mountain patiently mounted its comeback, working passing lanes and waiting for good looks to make it 3-2. Three minutes into the second quarter, Peter Hughes tied the game. He scored four minutes later to give his squad the lead.
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The end of the half couldn’t come soon enough for the Devils, who struggled to pinpoint passes and consistently gave the ball back to the Gore Rangers. Eagle Valley goalie Alexander Kostick made three straight big saves as the second quarter wound down, but several stolen outlet passes brought the action back into his zone.
Vail Mountain finally found a crack in Kostick’s net, with Hughes scoring at the 1:33 mark and Max Vidal slinging in a riser shot from left of the crease with 13.8 seconds to go to put the Gore Rangers up 6-3 at the half.
Keeping the ball in its end to start the third seemed to slowly rebuild Eagle Valley’s fighting posture. Eventually, Erich Petersen found Peter Boyd cutting straight down the middle, ending the Gore Rangers’ 6-0 run with an easy score 2:20 into the period. Julius Petersen kept things going by working Jack Schwartz to his right and then spinning the Vail Mountain sophomore off his hip pocket for a side arm score.
When Owen Taylor wound up from twenty yards out and fired home the tying point with 6:48 left in the period, the momentum had officially swung.
Then, Vail Mountain made another surge of its own. Max Vidal would take things himself at the 4:41 mark, putting the visitor’s back up. A few minutes later, he found a loose ball rolling out from the crease and hit a fadeaway hockey slap shot to the back of the net. Then, Connor Provencher scored to quiet the crowd and reestablish a three-point lead.
Both teams traded goals to open the fourth, and with 5:59 to go, Julius Petersen brought it back to within two. With 4:29 to go, his brother, Erich, dropped an overhead shot into the net to make it 10-9 VMS.
A steal by Peter Boyd brought the ball back to the Devils’ side of the faceoff, but Drew Bolster stopped a hard shot from Taylor. With 2:34 to go, he stopped another laser from Erich Petersen.
Cole Pattison went down with a leg cramp with 1:47 to go, offering a brief respite as the tension thickened. VMS then burned 30 seconds off the clock when action resumed before calling a timeout.
Clearly aiming to run out the clock, Provencher and Hughes worked to elude defenders in the corners. Hughes underhanded a pass to Vidal, who was drilled as he approached the crease and lost the ball. With 33.3 seconds to go, Kostick recovered and the Devils called for time.
VMS trapped Josh Bissett at midfield when a miracle pass ended up in the stick of a streaking Eric Hasley. As the clock’s final seconds ticked away, Hasley sprinted behind the net to set up what looked to be a final last-ditch uppercut attempt. The senior captain went around the net with Pattison on his shoulder and was able to create an overhead shot, which Bolster stopped and pinned to the ground with 6.6 seconds to go.
A penalty was called, however, giving Erich Petersen one last attempt. He was knocked on his back as he drove close to the net, and Beck Sapp recovered the loose ball and launched it high into the sky as the buzzer sounded.
With the win, Vail Mountain improved to 9-2 and Eagle Valley fell to 8-4. The Gore Rangers travel to Aspen on Friday, while the Devils host Montrose on Saturday.
“We’re still in the hunt,” Gleiss said.