Vail Mountain School topples Battle Mountain |

Vail Mountain School topples Battle Mountain

Vail Mountain's Emma Hall gets a hug from teammates on Saturday, and rightly so. The junior had a hat trick in the Gore Rangers' 3-1 win over Battle Mountain.
Max Phannenstiel | Special to the Daily |

EAST VAIL — So, 3-1 seems an appropriate score for Battle Mountain High School and Vail Mountain School soccer.

The Huskies boys soccer team won by that count in the fall when the rivalry was renewed, and the Gore Rangers ladies returned the favor, 3-1, on Saturday, at Bandoni Alumni Field.

“I guess we’re tied on aggregate,” Huskies coach David Cope joked. “I don’t know who gets the Snowball Trophy.”

Regardless of the fictitious derby trophy, VMS looked pretty good after a week of taking on 4A schools.

“I had a blast,” Gore Rangers goalie Holly Parker said. “I loved playing Mullen on Thursday and Battle Mountain today. It’s just so much more fun. It’s kind of fun being the underdog.”

Faster, faster, faster

The whole point of the 3A Gore Rangers (9-2) playing 4A teams such as Battle Mountain is to increase the speed of play with the playoffs in mind.

“You can begin to see it,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni, who was also celebrating President Trump’s 100th day in office. “There are a number of concepts we are trying to bring together. We try to provide the pictures in training, so every time we have a game, it’s a learning experience.”

The scoring summary of this one for the Gore Rangers was pretty simple — Tess Johnson to Emma Hall thrice.

“Tess and I have been playing together for a long time, and we read each other very well,” Hall said of her fellow junior. “So I know where she’s going. She knows where I’m going. I knew where to be. She executed the ball well. It was awesome.”

For Battle Mountain (6-7), Saturday was a bit of a flashback to Wednesday night’s loss to Glenwood Springs — good possession, but an inability to finish.

“I think the first thing is hats off to Vail Mountain School,” Cope said. “They showed great togetherness, organization and opportunism. I felt like large parts of that first half, we had the ball and we were doing well and then they scored on two opportunities. One was a counter attack and one was a corner. That’s what good teams do.”

To the Huskies’ credit, as they have done all season, they fought to the finish with Audrey Teague scoring late.

Survey says …

Trying to figure out the rating-percentage index these days is a precarious business. VMS dropped after a 3-1 loss to Mullen on Thursday, which is curious because, regardless of classification, the Mustangs’ 10-3 record should have helped the Gore Rangers when it comes to opponents’ winning percentage (50 percent of the formula.).

“They need to crunch those numbers and let us know what they mean,” Bandoni said, possibly offering the best explanation of the RPI to date. “That’s out of our control. What’s in our control is our quality of play. We have a lot of growing to do if we’re going to compete the way I think we can compete.”

VMS was No. 21, with 24 teams making the playoffs in 3A, which is somewhat alarming for a 9-2 team. (Yes, the Gore Rangers’ only two losses are to 4A teams, but RPI does not take into account playing squads of higher classification.)

That said, VMS leads the 3A Slope by one game ahead of both Basalt and Coal Ridge. In a related development, the Gore Rangers visit Basalt on Tuesday and host the Titans on Wednesday. If VMS finishes second or better in the 3A Slope, then the Gore Rangers are in the 3A playoffs, no matter what the RPI says.

Battle Mountain, at No. 37 in the 4A rankings, appears to be a long shot for the postseason, but still has some business ahead, starting with Senior Night on Monday at 6 p.m. against Rifle.

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