Vail Mountain ties Roaring Fork 1-1
Vail, CO Colorado
EAST-VAIL, Colorado ” Vail Mountain won’t be heading to the postseason this year, but Thursday it played as if its season were on the line.
The Gore Rangers gave maximum effort in a 1-1 tie against Roaring Fork at Bandoni Alumni Field in East Vail. The same could be said for the Rams. Both teams made good runs on goal, but neither could capitalize on scoring chances late in the match.
The tie should be good enough to send Roaring Fork to the 3A soccer playoffs, should CHSAA accept the school’s self-imposed three-game suspension of head coach John Ackerman. In a match against Aspen on Sept. 23, Ackerman pulled the Rams off the field, forcing CHSAA to place Roaring Fork on restriction. The school is hoping the punishment is enough to lift any postseason ban.
“We haven’t been told yes or no, but we know we needed a win or a tie to move on (to the playoffs),” said Roaring Fork coach Hadley Hentschel, who took Ackerman’s place on Thursday. “We haven’t gone to the playoffs in four years now. The kids are looking forward to it. We have the biggest group of seniors we’ve had. It will be a great sendoff for them. I’m excited to see how we do.”
Vail Mountain didn’t make it easy for the Rams. In the 20th minute, the Gore Rangers scored on an impressive sequence of passes. Ruben Saucedo rifled the ball to Tony Ryerson. Without letting it touch the ground, Ryerson flicked a pass over the Roaring Fork defense where a streaking Carder Lamb beat Rams goalkeeper Anthony Flores for 1-0 lead.
“It was beautiful,” Vail Mountain coach Bob Bandoni said. “It was a really nice, intuitive sense of where players are running.”
Roaring Fork nearly tied it at one before halftime, but twice a Rams’ shot drilled the crossbar and bounced away harmlessly.
After the break, Roaring Fork continued to just miss on chances to knot the score. Wylie Adams had a breakaway shot on goal, but pressure from Vail Mountain goalie Sean Minett was enough to force the shot wide right.
The Rams finally broke through in the 52nd minute. Diego Rubio’s shot danced around a cluster of Vail Mountain players in front of the net to tie the match at one.
“It was really fortunate,” Hentschel said. “It was one of those ones that you hope goes in. It got through enough players. Our kids needed to see that with all our near-goals. It seems like every game we hit post after post.”
Ryerson almost gave Vail Mountain the lead back on two different occasions. In the 56th minute, his shot barely went over the goal. Later, another attempt was saved by Flores.
In overtime, Ryerson just missed a game-winner when his shot went begging left.
“It’s frustrating not being able to finish in the final third of the field, but I thought the development was as good as we’ve seen,” Bandoni said.
The match ended the careers of 13 Vail Mountain seniors. Bandoni not only appreciated the effort on the field, but off it, as well.
“(The seniors) really embody the soccer culture at Vail Mountain School,” Bandoni said. “They are connected to the history of it. They watched older players when they were in middle school. Then they carried on the legacy, and did with a lot of integrity, and a lot of pride.”
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.
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