Vail Mountain’s Ryerson, Woods named first team all-league
Vail, CO Colorado
EAST-VAIL, Colorado ” A challenging schedule and multiple injuries kept the Vail Mountain soccer team out of the postseason, but that didn’t stop the Gore Rangers from having a successful 2008 campaign.
Playing against some of the state’s best teams, VMS finished the season with a respectable 5-8-2 record. The Gore Rangers’ Tony Ryerson and Sean Woods were named first team all-league by Slope coaches for their play this season.
“We didn’t play one game all season with a full squad,” Vail Mountain coach Bob Bandoni said. “With that said, we’re leaving the season feeling good about our progress, but disappointed we didn’t get in the postseason. That was one of our goals.
“We are surely leaving feeling as though we represented our school and our ourselves with dignity.”
VMS was in the hunt for a playoff berth all the way until the final day of the season. No small feat considering the schedule the Gore Rangers took on. VMS started the year by downing Summit and losing to Steamboat, both 4A playoff teams.
It’s hard to imagine, but VMS’ 3A schedule was likely tougher. Three of the teams the Gore Rangers met on the pitch ended up in the quarterfinals.
Still, VMS found ways to win. The most exciting victory of the season was a 1-0 thriller over Aspen on the Skiers’ Homecoming. Of course, Ryerson scored the game-winner in that match. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Aspen threw Ryerson a graduation party after the he came up with numerous big goals against them in his career.
“It’s definitely the Aspen, Vail rivalry that gets us up to play them,” Ryerson said. “They are a physical team like us. Sometimes they have some questionable plays. That got us fired to beat them. There’s nothing better than beating Aspen.”
Ryerson’s ability to come through in big games is only one of the things VMS will miss next season.
“Tony was honest in his approach, and so compelled by the competitive environment,” Bandoni said. “When he was in, what other people would think as situations that might induce anxiety for him, it actually brought him to the next level. He thrived on it. He thrived on it because it was all honest. He worked hard, and when he got there it was that much more exciting.”
Woods leads by example
Unfortunately for VMS, Ryerson was joined by 12 other seniors on the VMS roster this past season. That means Woods and the rest of the Gore Rangers will need to step into the leadership positions next year. Woods already has a head start.
“Whether we were training or playing, Sean was the player who we always relied on for his competitive zeal and focus and consistency,” Bandoni said. “Never did we have to wonder whether would Sean would be on.”
Woods ” along with goalkeeper Sean Minett ” helped direct the defense this season. Even among 13 seniors, Woods’ teammates looked for him to provide a good example not only on the pitch, but off it, as well.
“I thought as a 11th-grader, amidst a sea of seniors, Sean emerged as a moral leader,” Bandoni said. “His work ethic and his alignment with the principles of the program were always evident.
“He played with an intelligent, skilled approach, with reckless abandoned. You could feel his competitive spirit.”
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.