Vail Mountain gets bragging rights for the week
EAST VAIL, Colorado ” Round 1 went to the Vail Mountain School, and the Gore Rangers and Saints will do it all over five days from now.
VMS knocked off its downvalley rival Vail Christian, 2-0, Thursday at Bandoni Alumni Field in East Vail, but neither team has much time to celebrate and/or mope. The two teams meet again Wednesday in Edwards, and both hit the pitch again between now and then.
VMS, now 5-1-1, heads to Aspen Saturday for a very big tilt, a rematch of the two team’s scoreless draw at The Bob last month. The Gore Rangers also host Roaring Fork Monday.
“We came into this game obviously wanting to win, but we also wanted to step up our game,” said VMS’ Harper Kaufman, who was in on both of her team’s goals Thursday. “We wanted to play another level above what we did. We tried for that and I don’t know if we accomplished it as best as we could. But we’re going to work on it in practice tomorrow, and hopefully Saturday, we’ll be at whole other level.”
Meanwhile, the Saints are also home Monday against Basalt, a rather formidable opponent.
“We have practice on a field so that’s a plus,” Saints goalie Dakota Francis said, referring to today’s rare outdoor practice for her team. “But with our win on Tuesday (against Rangely) and we held them pretty well today, we know some things we need to work on. I think it’ll be good.”
Welcome to the shoe box
Both teams looked a bit off their stride. For Vail Christian, this was its third game in four days, something with which VMS is quite familiar. The Gore Rangers, having done their own marathon the last two weeks, had been hoping to use the time before Thursday’s game to practice. This week’s spring storm dictated otherwise.
“The bottom line is that all of us have to make do with what we have,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “If we are indoors, we have to work to make ourselves better players and a better team. The tactics are made a little more difficult when you’re playing in a shoe box, which is the relative ratio.”
Shoe box or regulation pitch, VMS asserted itself from the start. The Gore Rangers scored on an own goal which was credited to Kaufman in the eighth minute.
“Even if something else happened, I had girls who were in the box ready to hit it in,” Kaufman said. “I think it was a well-set-up play, regardless of the conclusion.”
Ten minutes later, VMS tailored an elegant goal off a free kick. Kaufman found Kaitlin Zdechlik on the right flank. Zdechlik made a nice cross which Kelli Lindsay, who buried her shot.
And if you’ve noticed that freshman Lindsay has been scoring a bunch for VMS, you get a gold star for paying attention. While this might be a surprise to most, the Bandon is not among those ranks.
“She’s quite intuitive and she gets to spaces rather quickly and she likes to have the ball at her feet and that’s a beautiful combination of characteristics,” Bandoni said.
While Vail Christian made a few offensive runs, the Saints’ best player on the pitch was unquestionably their goalie. Sophomore Francis was pelted early and often and kept her squad competitive.
“She was fantastic,” Vail Christian coach Barbara Wilson said. “Both of those goals ” the first one was a crazy deflection and the second one was a nice shot.”
And keeping with family tradition, Francis toughed out an injury in the process. In the second half, she took a knee to her left shoulder in a goal-mouth scramble. Though she was spelled by Elizabeth Shearon. Francis returned shortly and completed the game.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
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.