Vail Mountain School boys lacrosse rolls in playoff opener
Gore Rangers advance to the second round of the 4A playoffs with a decisive 17-7 victory over the Lutheran Lions
EAST VAIL — The Vail Mountain School Gore Rangers dominated the visiting Lutheran Lions on Tuesday in the opening round of the 4A playoffs.
Playing for a crowd of fans decked out in VMS’s signature playoff orange, the Gore Rangers dominated faceoff circle and relentless shooting on offense, racking up 43 shots over the course of the game.
The first quarter was a tight contest between the two teams. Lutheran came out with the opening goal three minutes into the game, which was quickly answered by a goal from Vail Mountain School junior Nick Kirwood. VMS had the ball on offense for most of the quarter, but poor shot placement and a standout performance from Lutheran goalie Tristan Windham put only two points on the board for 10 shots taken. Windham also got an assist on his stat page, clearing the ball all the way across the field to an attacker for Lutheran to tie up the score 2-2 going into the second quarter.
VMS junior Carter Large opened the second quarter with a huge outside shot 40 seconds in, giving the home team a small lead that was eaten up three minutes later when Lutheran capitalized on an off-sides call, tying the score 3-3. That was the closest Lutheran ever came to victory.
From then on, the VMS faceoff team took control of the game, winning 17 out of 23 faceoffs and giving their offense ample opportunity to rain shots on the opposition. The midfield also stepped up big on the ride, double-teaming the ball every time Lutheran tried to transition to offense and causing over a dozen turnovers in the midfield.
The third quarter is when the Gore Rangers really pulled away, holding the Lions scoreless and stretching a moderate 8-4 lead at the top of the half to an impassable 14-4 lead at the end of the quarter. Senior Mackay Pattison had four goals and two assists, complemented by a hat trick from VMS senior and lead scorer Becker Dienst.
“Something my dad always told me was shoot to get hot and shoot to stay hot, so if you want to put them in you’ve just got to keep shooting,” Dienst said. “I think we got the nerves out of the way in the first half and were able to start hitting the net more.”
Going into the fourth quarter with a comfortable padding of 10 goals, VMS easily closed out the game with a 17-7 lead to advance to the next round.
Coach Anders Fogel said he’s proud of the way his team performed, and is ready for the next challenge.
“I’ve said this for a while, this is a special team,” Fogel said. “These seniors have worked really hard and especially having missed last season we’re just excited to have this experience. We’ve come together at a really fun time and we’ll see how far we can take this thing.”
The Gore Rangers will be taking on Cheyenne Mountain, the number one seed in the tournament, at the June 17th quarterfinal game.
“Obviously that’s an intimidating number to go against, but we’re excited because we want to show everyone who we are and maybe shock them on their home field,” Dienst said. “I think that would be really awesome.”