Vail Mountain splashes past Vail Christian, 2-0 |

Vail Mountain splashes past Vail Christian, 2-0

EDWARDS, Colorado ” As if four new lacrosse teams weren’t enough, the Vail Mountain School and Vail Christian decided to add swimming to Eagle County spring sports.

Ironically, it was too warm before the Gore Rangers and Saints soccer teams met for the second time in six days Wednesday and a lot of the snow piled up on the east side of Freedom Park melted creating a marsh out of the northeastern quadrant of the turf.

“Our main goal was not to go in the puddle,” VMS senior Mia Bandoni said. “If you got in there, it was more about chipping it. We just wanted to direct play away from there. It was not fun in there.”

Despite the older Bandoni daughter’s sage advice about trying to stay away from the newly-formed Freedom Lake, both the Saints and Gore Rangers splashed their way through the conditions with VMS earning a 2-0 win.

“We talked to the players and talked about playing early crosses. But there’s not much you can do. Both teams are playing on the same field,” Gore Rangers coach Bob Bandoni said, essentially echoing his Vail Christian counterpart, Barbara Wilson. “It seems like the players were making the adjustment on the field naturally. It was pretty deep over there.”

Both teams tried, but with a majority of the players preferring their right foot and the tendency of wanting to possess the ball with their bodies as shields from opposing defenders, the Gore Rangers and Saints spent a good portion on the flooded right side of the pitch. Incoming passes simply stopped on a dime there and the lack of footing there led to inevitable pratfalls by players from both teams.

Battle Mountain soccer coach David Cope, whose girls teams have played at Freedom Park dating back to the spring of 2005, arrived for the second half of the game and said he’d never seen something like this.

Sally, ahem, Ryerson scores

VMS, playing toward the drier southern side of the field, got on the board in the 15th minute, thanks to a counter-attack goal. The Saints had the ball much more in the Gore Rangers’ end Thursday than they did last week in a 2-0 loss in East Vail, but VMS’ Kelli Lindsay started the run with a beautiful pass to Sally Ryerson.

And those with the last name of Ryerson who wear VMS soccer uniforms know what to do with such an opportunity. Ryerson blasted the shot by Saints goalie Dakota Francis for a 1-0 lead.

With 15 minutes left in the game, Kaitlin Zdechlik fed Lindsay for a cushion and VMS raised its record to 6-1-1. While the score was the same, the Saints showed noticeable improvement from the two teams’ last meeting six days before.

“We were able to keep the ball down here,” said Wilson, whose team fell to 1-5. “We were taking the shot, following the shot. We had a lot of close chances there. When we let down, we came back hard. It helps the girls that when the other team scores, we come out and keep going as before. That will help the girls.”

What weather?

There is no rest for the busy. The Saints head to Parachute to face Grand Valley. Not only are they hoping to avoid the storm forecasted for the mountains, but they are looking for some success against the host Cardinals.

“We’re looking for warm green grass, and hopefully, a chance to take what we’ve been doing ” all the positives ” and get some balls in the net,” Wilson said.

Meanwhile, VMS is at Aspen today and then back on Highway 82 to Basalt on Saturday. First off, VMS needs to get these games in, regardless of the weather. (By the way, Battle Mountain hosts Moffat County today in Edwards and that game is a go as of press time.) Second, the Gore Rangers played the Skiers to a scoreless tie and lost to Basalt, 3-0, so they would like to make amends.

“I’m really excited to play Basalt, because when we played them the first time, I didn’t think the score reflected how we played,” Mia Bandoni said. “This time, I think we can do better. And Aspen is always a tough team to play because they’re always physical. But I think we’re ready.”

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or

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