Vail Mountain booters dot all-league team
EAST VAIL, Colorado ” The Vail Mountain School handed out diplomas Friday, but before that came all-league soccer awards, and the Gore Rangers had a bunch.
With our traditional VMS/Bob Bandoni disclaimer that wins and losses are impostors and that individual recognition is a reflection of the team’s synergy, the Gore Rangers had a great year at 9-5-1.
VMS’ five losses came at the hands of Basalt, Coal Ridge and Denver Christian, all teams which advanced to the Sweet 16 or the quarters of the state playoffs in the case of the Crusaders.
Thus, the Gore Rangers’ Harper Kaufman, Mia Bandoni, and Maggie Sherman earned all-league nods, while Kaitlin Zdechlik and Lily Grifasi were honorable mentions.
Kaufman played all four years for VMS and was the team’s distributing midfielder. A lot of Vail Mountain’s attack went through the senior.
“”It’s clear not only how she plays, but how she trains that she is really a leader on the field,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “She wins the ball and plays it forward at a high level.”
For those who have played “VMS Soccer: The Home Game,” you know that fullbacks are vital to the team’s system. Thus, it is quite appropriate that both Mia Bandoni and Sherman made the league’s first team. Their play was quite complementary.
Bandoni ” and it should be noted that in all-league voting that a coach cannot vote for his own player ” was a shut-down back who played with seldom-seen tenacity in the spring.
“She really allowed us to play the system we played in,” Bob Bandoni said. “The strength of our system depends on bringing our backs in the attacking game. Mia allowed us to do that by shutting down her flank. She really learned to read the game well.”
With Mia Bandoni holding down that fort, that allowed Sherman to come up and attack, which she did splendidly. And the happy news here is that Sherman is a sophomore.
“This is the year she became a student of the game,” Bob Bandoni said. “She became the voice in the middle of the field. She became somebody who orchestrated our team, shifting the transition from defense to offense.”
Zdechlik is best known for her Nordic prowess” she’ll be skiing for Colby College in Maine next winter. But she showed she was very capable on a soccer pitch, though said pitch sometimes felt like a Nordic race.
Her senior project ” a course of independent study which VMS seniors may elect ” was on reducing injuries to female athletes, and she carried that over to her teammates.
“Kaitlin was not only a pit bull in the middle of the field and very aggressive as a tackler, but she also played a trainer’s role,” Bandoni said. “With her senior project, she lead us in warm-ups and cool-downs from her research. She played a unique role.”
Grifasi’s nod was a nice one as VMS entered the season without a goalie until she stepped into the position. She showed she definitely belonged with her highlight of the season coming in a scoreless draw against Aspen.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.