Vail Valley preps: Huskies boys lacrosse wins but misses playoffs
EDWARDS – Well, that stinks.
Battle Mountain boys lacrosse finished up the season with a 12-10 win over Grand Junction Monday afternoon to complete its season with a sparkling 13-2 record, easily the best in the program’s three-year history.
But when CHSAA handed out invites for the upcoming state tournament Tuesday, the Huskies found themselves without a berth.
“We absolutely thought we did our part,” Huskies coach Kevin O’Brien said. “We won 13 of 15 games, so we thought we deserved a shot. But it doesn’t take anything away from what we did this year. We had a helluva season.”
And that was what O’Brien reinforced when he met with the squad Tuesday.
In 2010, Battle Mountain went 7-5. This year, the Huskies separated themselves from most of the pack in the Mountain Conference – with the exception of champion Steamboat Springs, which got the 16th seed and will host Rock Canyon later this week – finishing second in the league.
Huskies fans can rightly point to the fact that CHSAA took two teams last year for the tournament from the Mountain Conference – Steamboat and Summit County. Why not this year?
The major issue is that the Mountain Conference has yet to establish itself statewide. Steamboat has lost in both of its playoff appearances as did Summit last season. O’Brien said that he’s working the phones to set up nonconference games next year with Front Range teams to get Battle Mountain the experience and exposure that accompanies such contests.
Against Grand Junction, the Huskies put a tidy bow on an excellent season, completing a season sweep of the Tigers, another first for Battle Mountain.
Reeve Sanders had four goals, while Josh Rosenbach had the hat trick. Christian Nichols scored twice, while Chris Libertini, Timmy Liccardi and Tommy Travers also found the net.
Monday was also Senior Night for the Huskies and they honored Geoff Ledon, Rosenbach, Matt Granzow, A.J. Schmidt, Carl Lipp and William Thompson.
VMS takes Round 1 vs. Aspen
No, the Vail Mountain School did not send out its third-grade soccer team Monday against Aspen.
With its full varsity complement, the Gore Rangers defeated Aspen, 3-0, Monday at Bandoni Alumni Field. The two teams meet again Thursday in Aspen in what will be the 3A Slope game between the two squads with league-title implications for VMS.
“We approached it in a straightforward fashion,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “We’re dealing with so many injuries that we are always working to develop a habit of playing a higher level of play. We felt as though we were playing a good opponent, an important opponent and that we needed to improve for the psychology of our group.”
Goals by Misha Harrison, Katie Scruggs and Maggie Sherman lifted VMS to a 9-2-1 record.
More importantly, the win sets up a big day of soccer Thursday. VMS and Basalt sit atop the 3A Slope with 7-0-1 league marks, with Coal Ridge at 7-1. (VMS and Basalt tied on Saturday and Coal Ridge’s only Slope loss is to VMS.) The Gore Rangers are at Aspen, which is locked into the fourth and final playoff spot from the Slope, while Basalt visits Coal Ridge.
VMS would like nothing more than a repeat of Monday’s result combined with a Coal Ridge victory over Basalt. That would give the school its first league title in girls soccer.
Perhaps, more important than the league title itself – which is no small issue – would be that, with a win Thursday at Aspen, VMS would likely play at home in the first round of the 3A playoffs. VMS changes its jerseys to orange for the postseason, and orange at home would be a point of pride for this team.
“They do understand,” Bandoni said. “It’s something that they seem to have the courage to do. They see that goal as realistic and understand clearly that it can only be reached with a tremendous effort.”
Saints tie Rifle
The Vail Christian soccer team has been plagued by a lack of numbers all season – sometimes suiting up only 10 players for a game.
So it was only appropriate that the Saints, the smallest school in the 3A Slope by CHSAA count with 89 students, played Rifle, whose student body is 615, and the largest in the league, to a 1-1 draw Tuesday.
“It’s a great way to wind down the season,” Saints coach Barbara Wilson said.
With small numbers, Vail Christian has taken its lumps for most of the season, but they walked away with a well-earned point against the Bears, thanks to a Karen Parra goal from Gracen McGuckin and stout goaltending from Kierra Kalakewich.
The Saints finish the season Thursday against Grand Valley at 3:15 p.m. at Freedom Park.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.