Vail Valley preps wrap for Saturday, Oct. 6: Vail Mountain soccer and volleyball, Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley volleyball
VAIL — Golden goals are getting to be a thing with Vail Mountain School soccer.
For the second game in a row, matches separated by one week, the Gore Rangers scored in extra time for a 1-0 victory with Saturday, Oct. 6’s overtime special coming against Denver Christian at Bandoni Alumni Field.
In the first overtime, Vail Mountain’s Zach Stockton, who had the game winner one week ago against the Colorado Rocky Mountain School, got a free kick at midfield. He sent it into the box and, after a mad scramble, Nathan Rouaud smashed his shot into the upper left corner.
Last year in games decided by one or fewer goals, the Gore Rangers were 2-8-1. This year, they’re 4-2. That’s a sign of a squad that’s growing up.
“Without question,” VMS coach Alex Darbut said. “People are seeing that we have talent coming up and that we’re going to be strong going forward.”
VMS is in the strange position of being 1-2 in the 3A Western Slope, yet being in the top 10 of the rating-percentage index. As of Saturday night, the Gore Rangers were ranked No. 8 in the state due to their strong play outside the Slope.
In fairness, the Gore Rangers’ two league losses are to No. 1 Roaring Fork and No. 15 Coal Ridge. But with Delta (No. 4 in the RPI and 8-2-1 overall) coming to town on Tuesday, Oct. 9, VMS (7-3) probably wouldn’t mind getting moving within the league.
In a related development, Delta was also one of the team’s eight one-goal losses last season.
Huskies fall at Homecoming
Ouch in more ways than one.
Battle Mountain suffered a 20-25, 25-18, 25-7, 25-17 loss to Palisade in its Homecoming game on Saturday, Oct. 6.
As if that weren’t painful enough, the Huskies’ Marilyn Ricca went down with a leg injury.
“We just couldn’t bounce back from that,” Huskies coach Jason Fitzgerald said. “We still hadn’t recovered mentally. By the fourth set, we got our composure back, but Palisade was steady all day. Hats off to them.”
Fitzgerald added that he knows his squad isn’t the only one with injuries, that health can’t be used as an excuse, and the Huskies are going to have to figure out how to move on without Ricca.
To that end, the Huskies (11-4 and 5-3) host Rifle on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
VMS spikers keep rolling
Well, that wasn’t too bad of a week for Vail Mountain School volleyball.
After knocking off Vail Christian in three sets on Tuesday, Oct. 2, the Gore Rangers swept DeBeque on Friday, Oct. 5, 26-24, 25-15, 25-16, and West Grand, 25-21, 25-18, 25-15, on Saturday, Oct. 6, for a total of three league wins.
“I can’t complain,” Vail Mountain School coach Whitney Armistead said.
While the West Grand win was officially the Homecoming game, the win over DeBeque was probably more significant. The Dragons played an unconventional defense — only one player on the block, its middle blocker, with the other five players on the floor digging.
“We always have a get-to-know-you period in the first game when it’s OK to make mistakes,” Armistead said. “It’s good for us as a team to play a bunch of different teams at different levels because we see a lot of different systems. We read them, be smart and find a way to put the ball away.”
In the bigger picture, this is important for the Gore Rangers (13-3 overall and 9-1 in the 2A Slope) and their postseason prospects. Come regionals, they hope to be playing teams about which they have no knowledge, and they’re going to have to figure out game strategy on the fly.
In the meantime, VMS has a big road trip next weekend with matches at Hotchkiss and at Paonia.
“We have some redeeming to do,” Armistead said. “Paonia knocked us out of districts last year and we lost to Hotchkiss in game we shouldn’t have lost. We’ve got some things to do.”
Devils volleyball keeps pace
Eagle Valley volleyball coach Jackie Rindy has made her prediction — the 4A Western Slope with just two losses is going to be the one that walks away with the league title.
As four teams in the Slope (Battle Mountain, Eagle Valley, Palisade and Steamboat Springs) entered Saturday, Oct. 6’s action with two losses, Madame seems to think someone is going to run the table during the second half of the season.
Eagle Valley did its part on Saturday, sweeping Summit County, 25-21, 25-20, 25-22.
Meredith Murphy was clutch in a spot start for Shelbi Lubbers, while DiDi Trifinova was superb on defense.
The Devils (10-3 and 5-3) are at Glenwood Springs on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
Demons football blanks Devils, 41-0
Eagle Valley football fell to Glenwood Springs, 41-0, on Friday, Oct. 5.
The Devils (2-4, 0-1) are at Summit County next week.