Vail Mountain keeps orange hopes alive
EAST VAIL – For Vail Mountain School soccer, nothing has come easily all season. Wednesday’s game against Grand Valley wasn’t easy. Today’s game at Basalt certainly won’t be easy.
But if the path, in the end, leads to orange, none of the Gore Rangers is going to complain about the journey.
VMS barely got by cellar-dwelling Grand Valley, 1-0, Wednesday at venerable Bandoni Alumni Field, but, in doing so, kept alive their hopes for the postseason. All the Gore Rangers have to do now is beat Basalt today on the road to crack out those coveted orange jerseys.
After all the appropriate coach-speak about respect for Basalt, VMS coach Slade Cogswell said of his charges, “They have the character.”
The math is pretty simple going into today’s final game of the season. VMS is 2-3-2 (3-7-2 overall) in the 3A Slope, holding down the league’s fifth and final playoff spot, ahead of Hotchkiss (2-4-1), Rifle (2-4-1) and the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (2-5).
VMS needs a win today at Basalt (6-0-1, 9-3-1) for its first playoff appearance since 2007.
“I really, really want to wear orange,” said VMS freshman Garret Cerney, who picked a really good time to get his first varsity goal Wednesday. “It would be pretty cool to wear orange as a freshman.”
On paper, today’s game looks like a Basalt blowout. That said, the Gore Rangers and Longhorns have a bit of a history dating back to Cogswell’s days (1997-200) as a player at VMS.
The reason VMS is still fighting for a playoff spot on the last day is that the Gore Rangers have a maddening tendency to play up or down to their competition. The latter was on display Wednesday, though they got the three points, which was the bottom line. The former was on display last week with a tie against playoff bound Aspen. Both the Gore Rangers and Basalt tied the Skiers.
Then, there’s last year. VMS played Basalt on the last day of the season and led Basalt, 2-0, with 10 minutes to go in the game, only to lose 3-2. So VMS can play with the Longhorns.
The Gore Rangers will have to play better than they did Wednesday, to topple Basalt, but they know that. VMS peppered the Cardinals’ net, but were still looking for the one necessary finish until late in the second half.
Alex Marti to Cerney ended up being the unlikely combination.
“It feels pretty good,” Cerney said. “It was a really good ball by Marti. I just sprinted in and the goalie was out of position.
“That’s one of my favorite things about this team right now,” Cogswell said. “We had a shutout from a ninth grader. We’ve got juniors and sophomores controlling our back line right now. We’ve got great distribution from our seniors and goals coming from freshmen. It’s awesome.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.