Vail Mountain stuns Coal Ridge
Vail, CO Colorado
PEACH VALLEY – Avery Bellis never gave up on the play. The Vail Mountain School freshman’s persistence yielded quite the reward: a game-winning goal.
Putting herself in the perfect place at the perfect time, Bellis buried a 67th-minute goal that lifted the Gore Rangers to a 2-1 girls soccer win at Coal Ridge on Tuesday.
Bellis had a couple of teammates to thank. Misha Harrison blasted a high liner from the left flat that clanged off the crossbar to Katie Scruggs, who shouldered the ball to Bellis.
Bellis, in prime position for a short-range shot, handled the rest.
“It was a lot of luck, honestly,” Bellis said before erupting into laughter.
The late strike completed a comeback for Vail Mountain, which fell behind when the Titans’ Alicia Cokley sent a penalty kick high and beyond the reach of goalkeeper Clare Elich in the 10th minute.
Though scoring opportunities were frequent, neither team found net again in the opening half.
Paige Ryan nearly gave Coal Ridge a 2-0 lead just before the break, chasing down a high-hopping goal kick for a breakaway opportunity. As she closed in on goal, the speedy freshman booted a shot that sailed over the crossbar.
“In the first half, we had enough opportunities that we could have made the game pretty miserable for them,” Titans coach Brian Blair said. “If we have two or three (goals), it becomes pretty daunting to come back. But we only got one.”
And, in the second half, the Gore Rangers capitalized.
Sophomore Amy Sherman pounced on an Emily Bandoni free kick and rolled a short shot off the post and across the line to square the count at one in the 48th minute.
“It was a nice pass from the byline, which is what we’ve been practicing,” Sherman relayed. “I was just lucky enough to be there to get it in.”
The ball ricocheted off the post at the perfect angle.
“What a beautiful goal,” Vail Mountain coach Bob Bandoni said. “Amy didn’t get a lot on it, but she knew what she was doing. She was trying to get it to the back post, and she just dribbled it in.”
Sherman’s tally seemed to liven up Bandoni’s side.
“I really think, after they got that first goal, their tired legs went away,” Blair said. “It’s one of those things that’s mental. I think we had control of the game and we were the team on their end most of the half. As soon as they scored, it was ‘Oh my gosh, we could tie.’ That gave them the upper hand and it seemed to deaden our legs a little bit.”
And every ounce of momentum was critical in a game featuring two evenly matched teams.
“I think it was a well-fought game, both ways,” Bandoni said. “I’m glad we ended up being the winning side. There were opportunities for both teams. … For me to tell you we had all these great theories and the better team won isn’t fair to the game. I thought it was a well-fought, even match and we’re fortunate. We had some good luck and ended up coming out of here with three points.”
The win pushed the Gore Rangers to 6-2 overall, while Coal Ridge dipped to 5-2.