Vail Mountain School soccer blasts Basalt, 5-0
EAST VAIL — And now it is time for The Biggest Game in the History of Vail Mountain School Soccer.
OK, Saturday’s game is the biggest until the Gore Rangers head to Aspen on Tuesday, but you get the idea.
VMS blanked Basalt, 5-0, on Thursday afternoon at the San Siro of the Western Slope, Bandoni Alumni Field. It’s time for Coal Ridge today at 11 a.m. at The Bob.
The visiting Titans are 8-1 overall and 2-0 in the 3A Slope. Coal Ridge is the two-time defending league champ and pretty much the standard by which 3A Slope soccer is measured.
On the other hand, the Gore Rangers aren’t exactly an intramural team that gets together occasionally to knock around the ball. VMS is 6-2-1 and 3-0, and has been pummeling its opposition as well.
“We actually started preparing for this earlier in the week,” VMS coach Pete Petrovski said. “We’ve told them that, from this point forward, the skill level of teams we’re going to be facing is similar. It’s going to come down to how much they want it. … We’ve told them we’re proud of them. There’s no reason to be intimidated. I feel like we’re one of the best teams in 3A, and I’m not blowing smoke at them.”
Oh, yes, Basalt
And since every one uses the Internet to check common scores, the Titans beat Basalt, 5-1, early this week on their home pitch and VMS took care of the Longhorns, 5-0, on Thursday. As always, your mileage may vary when it comes to the transitivity of results.
A nice trend, though, for VMS is its play on set pieces. The Gore Rangers turned three corner kicks into goals on Thursday.
“We worked on it yesterday,” Petrovski said. “We did quite a bit of timing on our runs into the box and putting some pace into the ball. We’re so fortunate. Our kids are so coachable.”
And what every coach, regardless of sport, loves to see is the work in practice appear in a game.
In the sixth minute, Trevor Sheldon served a corner kick in to Clay Kirwood. Master Kirwood had no look but laid it back to Erick Zdechlik, who popped the left panel.
On the ensuing kickoff, Basalt didn’t settle the ball properly and VMS’ Peter Smith made a superb play to head the ball to an onrushing Kirwood for a 2-0 lead.
In the 18th, it was another set piece — Kirwood to Dylan Cunningham via the header.
Playing right wing, midfielder Liam Hurley won a 50-50 ball and fed Kevin Garcia. If you don’t know that name, Garcia is a sophomore transfer from Eagle Valley. He’s sat out the first half of the season, as required by CHSAA transfer rules, and VMS obviously hopes to see more of this.
That was Garcia’s first varsity goal — he had not scored for the Devils last year. And make way for Bridger Gile. The freshman hammered a beauty of a pass sent to the top of the box by Kirwood. This series was started by a corner kick. Gile didn’t miss any portion of the ball and lit up the VMS bench with his first varsity score.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.