VMS beats Moffat County, moves to 2-0
EAST VAIL — The trophy is nearby, in the building, but please don’t talk about it.
Yes, the Vail Mountain School girls soccer team is the defending 2A state champion, but the Gore Rangers are focusing on the here and now and things like dispatching Moffat County, 6-0, on Tuesday at Bandoni Alumni Field.
“The conversation we had at the beginning of the season was that we’re not going to rest on our laurels,” Gore Rangers junior Sydney Sappenfield said. “We know we have a target on our back. That’s something we understand. But our work ethic is not going to drop. It’s something we have to focus on.”
“I think it’s good motivation to keep working,” sophomore Katie Alonzo added.
Make no mistake, last spring’s run to Denver, culminating in a group dance with the state trophy was fun, but it’s early days for tis season’s Gore Rangers.
“What I’m happy about is there seems to be more of an investment of getting to higher level of play that there is any talk of a medal that comes with it,” Vail Mountain School coach Bob Bandoni said. “That’s probably a part of the DNA of the program. The team is naturally setting high internal standards for each other. There’s some competition within for positions. We don’t really worry about all that stuff.”
The usual routine
So far, so good, though, for Vail Mountain School at 2-0 in the 3A/2A Slope. Tuesday was what teams that aspire to be contenders should do to squads, which are not in that category. The Gore Rangers dropped four goals on Moffat during the first 34 minutes and that was that.
Emma Hall had the bookend scores of the half dozen, with Anwyn Urquhart, Tess Johnson, Sammy Gish and Alonzo finding the net in between.
Doubtless, more pleasing to Bandoni was that the pitch tilted in Vail Mountain School’s favor when it came to possession. The Gore Rangers worked the outside flanks, switched directions to unbalance the Bulldogs’ defense and open passing lanes.
In a development which surprises no one, Vail Mountain School then got the ball to the end line and cut it back. This is Soccer 101, and the Gore Rangers did whatever they wanted against Moffat.
What is interesting is how young, yet experienced this year’s team is. Lainey Bailey and Annie Blakslee are the only two seniors. But the Gore Rangers have a ton of juniors and sophomores who were a part of last year’s run.
Getting the ever-elusive synergy is the goal as the season progresses.
“You can see that the chemistry on the field still has a way to go,” Bandoni said. “The timing is not quite there. We are still looking at a number of positions. We have a lot of young players and we have lot of players being assimilated into the program from ski racing. We have a long ways to go.”
Despite the standard coaches’ challenge to his team above, Vail Mountain School does figure to be in the mix for 3A/2A Slope title as well as a player on the 2A state level. The Gore Rangers will see such familiar teams as Front Range Christian (April 5), Denver Christian (April 16) and Dawson (May 6).
In the meantime, though, it’s rivalry week for Vail Mountain School. Aspen comes to town for the Ryerson Bowl on Thursday. (Although Tony or Sally haven’t worn a Vail Mountain School uniform in years, it’s distinctly possible either could score against the Skiers on Thursday.) The Gore Rangers then host Vail Christian on Saturday and visit the Saints next week.