Vail Mountain sinks Coal Ridge in 78th minute
EAST VAIL – The Vail Mountain School never really has a big to-do about Senior Day like other schools. The seniors know that it’s the last home game at Bandoni Alumni Field and that’s that.
Friday, VMS soccer’s lone seniors – Taylor Biegler and Ellie Knust – made it Senior Day by their actions. They both scored in a 2-1 victory over Coal Ridge Friday at The Bob.
This win was big in many ways. First off, the Gore Rangers avenged a loss to the Titans by the same score down in Silt on Thursday. VMS defeated the two-time defending 3A Slope champions Friday. The Titans had also yet to lose a game before Friday and were ranked No. 5 by The Denver Post this week. And on top of that, the Gore Rangers finished up a stretch of four games in five days with a 3-1 record.
All in all a good day, whether you call it Senior Day or not.
“It was fun,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “Honestly, I thought we played better (Thursday). That’s the great thing about The Beautiful Game we play. We had better chances (Thursday), yet today we brought a little bit of luck and a spectacular goal to win the game. There was no luck there.”
By the way did we mention VMS’s Knust scored in the 78th minute for a dramatic victory? More on that later. In fact both goals weren’t unlucky. Biegler struck a laser of a shot on a free kick from 30 yards out in the first half.
The Titans replied in the second 40 to knot the game. As the minutes were ticking down, Bandoni was worried about the toll of four matches in five days.
“On the bench we could really feel the fitness getting to us,” Bandoni said. “I said to (assistant coach) Charry (Morris), ‘I don’t know how much we have left. We’ll see.’ We were having a hard time getting to spaces, getting forward. The sign of a competitive group is to find somehow and reserve tank of energy.”
Enter Madama Knust. The senior has been on a bit of a scoring jag recently, and her timing couldn’t be better as the Gore Rangers start the postseason next week. Finishing in the final third has been the missing piece for VMS, and Knust has displayed the knack lately, having a hat trick Tuesday against Rangely and another tally in Thursday’s game against Coal Ridge.
Friday, Knust got behind the Titans defense. The Coal Ridge keeper came out to defend. Just before they met, Knust timed her release past the goalie and that was the game-winner.
VMS finishes the season at 8-5-1 in the 3A Slope and 8-6-1 overall. The Gore Rangers captured the fourth and final playoff berth Tuesday. The draw will come out Sunday on chsaa.org. VMS almost certainly will be on the road for the first round – but still wearing their bright orange postseason jerseys.
Bandoni said that he expects his squad to be seeded around No. 20, but, as always, your mileage may vary when it comes to Western Slope teams.
Devils get a head start at Tiger
GRAND JUNCTION – While most of the Eagle Valley track team will be at today’s Battle Mountain Invite in Edwards, we’ve got a few Devils down at the Tiger Invitational in Grand Junction.
And in stunning development Friday, Eagle Valley’s Jamie Bair did not win the shot put Friday. She finished third with a throw of 35 feet, 9.5 inches. Fear not, though, the senior was behind two 5A throwers from Durango and Pomona.
This was coach Jeff Shroll’s idea in splitting his team a bit. He wanted to get a few athletes a look at some 5A competition and the Devils fared well.
In the 200-meter preliminaries, Kassi Gall finished fourth and will run in the finals today, Kendra Clements rang up another 63-second 400, taking sixth and advancing. Erin Burnett is through to the finals after a blazing run of 16.88 seconds in the 100 hurdles, Mario Gonzalez finished eighth in the 3,200 with time of 10 minutes, 8.56 seconds.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.