Vail Mountain School Gore Rangers youth movement doubles up Eagle Valley Devils
GYPSUM — The faces are different, but the goal remains the same for Vail Mountain School lacrosse.
Make the playoffs.
The Gore Rangers made it two in a row by doubling up Eagle Valley, 8-4, on Tuesday, April 10, at John Ramunno Field in Gypsum. Though 3-6 overall and 3-3 in the Western Conference, VMS may well have a path to the postseason, given its strength of schedule when it comes to the omnipresent rating-percentage index.
Freshman Ryan Cole watched from the sidelines last spring as VMS won the Western Conference and earned its first playoff win. After all, his older brother, Shane, was on that squad.
“I knew what the team is like and I knew what the standards were going to be, so I just came in as best prepared as I could be,” Ryan said. “We’re shooting for playoffs.”
Cranking up some offense
There are two major differences for the Gore Rangers right now as opposed to the beginning of the season. Not every opponent they’re playing is in the top 10 of RPI or the chsaanow.com 4A poll, and the Gore Rangers are starting to find some offense.
Freshman Becker Dienst and junior Cam Bill both rang up hat tricks on Tuesday.
“Offense worked real well today,” Dienst said. “We had a lot of good off (the) ball movement. We had good hustle all around and played with speed.”
This spring has been a getting-to-know-you process, as VMS is figuring out how to replace its top five goal scorers from last season.
“I think our offense is starting to get a little bit better,” VMS coach Bobby Ecker said. “We’re starting to see it a little bit more. I think we’ve been relying on defense a little. Our goalie, Matthew Gay, has been incredible. We’re still getting there on offense. I wish we could have stuck a few more man-up goals, but we’re getting there.”
Henry Hancock and Bobby Bolyard also scored for the Gore Rangers.
To Eagle Valley’s credit, the Devils kept this one close. Luke Jeffers to Phillip Petersen gave the Devils an early 3-1 lead. Unfortunately, Petersen left the game after a hit from VMS defender Luke Verratti during the second quarter.
While the hit drew a penalty and resulted in the first of two goals from Eagle Valley’s Corbin Wilson, losing Petersen was the last thing the Devils needed, given their already thin ranks.
“I think tonight we were a little flat, but they continue to improve every week,” Devils coach Eric Mandeville said. “That’s the most important thing. We continue to fight. They’re excited about practice because they want to get better.”
Eagle Valley and Vail Mountain are both in action on Thursday, April 12. The Devils host Steamboat Springs, while the Gore Rangers head to Glenwood Springs.