Vail Mountain rolls Telluride; semifinals next
2A state playoffs
Vail Mountain 6, Telluride 0
Front Range Christian 2, Conerstone Christian 1
Evangelical Christian 2, Denver Christian 0
Dawson 3, Resurrection Christian 1
All-City Stadium, Denver
Vail Mountain vs. Front Range Christian 5 p.m.
Dawson vs. Evangelical Christian, 7 p.m.
EAST VAIL — Vail Mountain School soccer is riding on, as per its fight song.
The orange wave, fingernails and all, is headed back to Denver and the 2A state semifinals after a 6-0 breeze against Telluride on Friday at Bandoni Alumni Field.
And about those fingernails, the Gore Rangers had orange ones with little blue log cabins, a replica of the school’s cabin to the south of the pitch.
“Sylvan has beautiful fingernails,” senior Annie Blakslee said of assistant coach Sylvan Ellefson.
Nice team spirit ladies, but, perhaps, TMI.
The Gore Rangers were way too much for the visiting Miners. After the predictable case of nerves in the playoff opener, the Gore Rangers settled in and peppered Telluride’s net.
The Miners were playing a high line on defense, trying to catch VMS offside. Ideally, one breaks that bay a pass wide, but up the middle works as well. Katie Alonzo sprung Tess Johnson, who did the rest.
After losses to Coal Ridge and Dawson last week, the Gore Rangers seemed to have a purpose on Friday.
“I think it caused us to fight harder and want it more,” Johnson said. “As hard as it was in the moment, it helped us.”
“It motivated everyone not to want to feel like that again,” Blakslee said.
VMS (12-2) went into the half with a 2-0 lead Maddie Cooper was stopped on a breakaway. But that gave Anwyn Urquhart an open net and that was just fine for the freshman.
Johnson converted on a penalty kick to start the second half and then fed Sydney Sappenfield for goal No. 4.
The Gore Rangers continued the onslaught and got nice contributions with goals by Maria D’Andrea and Lindsey Peterson.
“We don’t think we’re quite there yet,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “I think players in the first (playoff) game might have been a little nervous. We can play more integrated. I do think sometimes we are forcing opportunities. A lot of time we can get away with it because of our athleticism and speed.”
First off, let the record state that VMS cannot play wide enough for Bandoni — that’s the system. Second if his team were a blender, Bandoni would want his charges to be on the puree setting.
That said, Bandoni was happy that his players were talking about these strategies during their postgame meeting.
Front Range Christian next
The only downer of the afternoon was that Emma Hall appeared to tweak her left ankle during the second half. She gets five days of rest before the Gore Rangers face Front Range Christian on Wednesday at Denver’s All-City Stadium at 5 p.m. in the state semifinals.
“I think they are formidable,” Bandoni said. “They have a lot of speed. Their speed of play will challenge us.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.