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Vail Mountain rallies against Rangely

SP VMS GS Lucy Sackbauer TS 04-11-08
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GYPSUM, Colorado ” The Vail Mountain School girls soccer team wanted no part of overtime Friday against Rangely.

The Gore Rangers lost in OT against Coal Ridge last month. Against those same Titans, VMS had to settle for a tie Thursday. And after the Gore Rangers squandered 2-0 lead and were kotted 2-2 in the final minutes, they were getting that sinking feeling.

“Once they tied it up, it was just insane,” VMS junior Harper Kaufman said. “Everyone was feeling it. ‘We need to score now. There’s no way.'”

VMS got its happy ending when Kaufman fed Molly Etters for the game-winner with six minutes left in regulation, keeping the Gore Rangers’ playoff hopes alive and alleviating any need for extra time.

“The nice thing, and I will talk to them about this, is that they did have to take control of a game,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “This is the first game where they knew that they were a better team and they had to deliberately work to find to find a rhythm to get the result they needed to get.”

Digging deep

VMS seemed to have things in hand with a two-goal lead when the visiting Panthers halved it with a nice strike from senior Hannah Walz. The Gore Rangers’ hold on the lead became more tenuous when Rangely’s Whitney Chumacero clanked one off the crossbar.

For those who believe in soccer karma, that might have been payback for the three posts the Gore Rangers hit in the first half.

The senior, however, didn’t miss twice. Minutes later, Chumacero lobbed a long shot over the outstretched hands of VMS goalie Elsie Macsata.

“That’s kind of how our team is, second-half team,” Panthers coach Kris Denny said.

“It takes them a little bit, but that second half, we always come back. They need to start hard. They need to play the whole game like they played the second half.”

VMS responded in superb fashion with a brilliant sequence from back-to-front for the game-winning goal. Kelsey Peck, Taylor Biegler and Mia Bandoni started the transition from the back in textbook form. Bandoni fed midfielder Kaufman who deftly lost her mark.

Meanwhile, Etters was making a perfect looping run to Kaufman’s left and was in prime position for the pass and the finish.

“Our whole team kind of clicked right there,” Kaufman said. “They passed it up through the middle. I got it to Molly and she put it in. It was really nice.

“I am pleased, in retrospect, of course, that they were put in that situation because it was good to see how they would respond to it,” Bob Bandoni said. “When you put all these circumstances together for high school kids, they sometimes have a hard time transcending them. To develop out of the back, to have Harper carry the ball through the midfield, Molly open up as she did, and Molly push the ball through to score the final goa, just to put the punctuation mark on that essay is important.”

And VMS English teach Mike Morris, who has also patrolled the sidelines previously with Bandoni, would be proud of that quote.

Game time

This was technically a road game for VMS, but since the Panthers couldn’t come up with officials, the Gore Rangers had a much shorter trip to Gypsum. With a strange start time ” 2 p.m., as opposed to 4 ” the Gore Rangers didn’t get their usual warmup in.

“Today was a little surreal. At least we managed to pick it up in the end,” Etters said. “Our warmup was cut early but we were saying that we can’t use anything as an excuse. As much as I want to believe that we were ready mentally, out on the field, it was definitely a little strange. That was different.”

VMS seemed to respond well in the first half. Etters assisted Maggie Sherman in the 10th minute, and seven minutes later. Kaufman gave the Gore Rangers a 2-0 lead.

The win puts VMS at 4-3-1 in the 3A Slope with its biggest test of the season looming Tuesday ” a tilt at Basalt.

“The record so far for us is we tend to step up to the level of competition, so we’ll see what happens,” Bandoni said. “They’re definitely the team to beat. We know that and we’ll do what we can.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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