Vail Mountain School edges Colorado Academy | VailDaily.com

Vail Mountain School edges Colorado Academy

Vail Mountain's Liam Hurley fires off a shot at the goal during their game against Colorado Academy Thursday in Vail. The Gore Rangers beat Colorado Academy, 1-0, on Hurley's penalty kick in the first half.
Justin Q. McCarty | Special to the Daily |

EAST VAIL — Yes, it was really 15 years ago.

Fifteen autumns ago, the Vail Mountain School soccer team went down to Colorado Academy and knocked off the No. 1-ranked Mustangs in the 3A state quarterfinals in what was likely the biggest win in the history of the boys’ soccer program.

Those Gore Rangers are now in their 30s — egad — while the current ones were toddlers.

The 2015 edition has postseason aspirations and seems to be on a bit of roll. VMS made it eight in a row with 1-0 win over No. 5 Colorado Academy on Thursday at Bandoni Alumni Field, which was dappled in autumnal hues.

“They showed great maturity today. They improved as the game went on. They’re great. We give them a little bit of direction and they go with it.”Pete PetrovskiCoach, Vail Mountain School

“It was awesome,” VMS stopper Robby Gruber said. “It was a lot more fun and it definitely helps us prepare for playoffs.”

De-fense

This was one of those funny games where VMS played better in the second half than it did in the first 40 minutes yet, naturally, recorded the only goal of the game in the first half.

Peter Ferraro made a nice run down the left side and got dragged down in the box. Master Ferraro could be up for an Oscar nomination for that, but no one in VMS blue and white cares. Liam Hurley converted the penalty kick in the 18th and that was that.

The big story of the game was VMS’ response to a high quality opponent defensively. It’s all well and good to beat the stuffing out of Grand Valley, and necessary for the league table. But the Gore Rangers (8-1) need to see a high level of play to be successful when their jerseys turn from white to orange.

“It’s critical. You can talk about it as much as you want to, but they have to see it,” VMS coach Pete Petrovski said. “They have some playoff experience, but you forget how hard you have to work to that level. Colorado Academy is well coached. They play hard and they dominated us in the first half. Our guys were not accustomed to playing at that pace.”

But VMS picked it up and stymied the quick Mustangs. That’s Gruber as the stopper and sweeper Bridger Gile as well as Nathan Rouaud, Max Bervy, Dylan Hardenbergh and Jack Keane.

“It was tough this game because the forwards were moving around so much,” Gruber said. “Bridger and I were communicating with the outside back and we were able to keep track of everyone.”

“They showed great maturity today. They improved as the game went on,” Petrovski said. “They’re great. We give them a little bit of direction and they go with it.”

Hello, Coal Ridge

A win over Colorado Academy is probably helpful to raise VMS’ profile come playoff-seeding time. More importantly, the Gore Rangers control their own destiny in conference play.

The Gore Rangers are 2-0 in the 3A Slope with Coal Ridge and Basalt both at 2-0-1. Roaring Fork, which should be in the hunt, has yet to play a league game.

With all that in mind, CMS is at Coal Ridge on Saturday.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 and cfreud@vaildaily.com.