VMS downs Glenwood in official varsity debut
Special to the Daily
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Vail Mountain School was playing its first varsity game as a sanctioned boys lacrosse program on Thursday. The Glenwood Springs Demons were playing with their first 2-0 start in program history.
The Gore Rangers, as it turned out, were able to notch their first 1-0 start in program history thanks to their 9-4 season-opening victory at Stubler Memorial Field. It came thanks in part to a hat trick from Nick Whiteford, whose three fourth-quarter goals proving to be the late momentum shifter that lifted the Gore Rangers to their first victory for the program as a varsity team sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association.
“The second quarter was a lot better than the first quarter,” Vail Mountain coach Matt Felser said. “I think the boys thought they were a lot more ready than they actually were, but in the second half they kicked things in gear and played well.”
That was a sentiment echoed from the opposite sideline from Glenwood (2-1 overall), which suffered its first loss of the season following victories against Telluride and Montrose. It’s still two more wins than all of last season, however, and the sheer fact that the Demons were within a reasonable striking distance of the Gore Rangers (1-0) throughout the game shows the strides the program has made.
“Last year was awful,” said Glenwood senior Sam Liotta, who had one of the Demons’ four goals. “Last season we’d lose by so much and we hated it. But now, things are so much better than they were last year.”
Max Slack, Cole Hollenback, Ian Rothman and Liotta each scored goals for the Demons, with the third-minute goal from Slack giving the Demons an early 1-0 lead. Vail Mountain, however, rebounded and, after tying the score at the end of the first quarter, scored three unanswered goals — two coming from Luke Verratti in a six-second time span — to go into halftime with a 4-1 lead.
The Demons made a run, however. After a goal from Trace Lanoreth at the 8:02 mark of the third quarter gave the Gore Rangers a 5-1 cushion, Hollenback scored for Glenwood off a long lob from the right wing with 5:03 remaining. Then after the Demons killed off a power-play opportunity for Vail Mountain following a roughing penalty from Forest Walker, Liotta pulled the demons within 5-3 when his goal went into the net with no time remaining in the third quarter.
Glenwood, however, never came closer thanks in part to Whiteford. After Lanoreth scored on a Gore Ranger power play with 11:04 remaining for a 6-3 Vail Mountain lead, Whiteford scored at the 5:57 and 4:22 marks for a five-goal Vail Mountain cushion. Rothman scored with 3:19 remaining to keep hope alive for the Demons, but Whiteford capped his hat trick — and the game’s scoring, when he scored with 2:13 left.
Vail Mountain is off until Monday when they play at Summit. Glenwood plays again Saturday when the Demons host Clear Creek out of Evergreen.