VMS enters state as No. 1 seed
Sure, the Gore Rangers have politely talked about “taking it one game at a time,” and, of course, “You can’t afford to overlook anybody.”
But, the bottom line is that since the moment VMS fell to Flagler in the 1A state semifinals last year at the Denver Coliseum, the whole point of the exercise has been about getting back to state.
“They came up a step short,” VMS coach Mike Garvey said. “They knew they had the possibility of making the finals last year. It left a taste in their mouth. They entered the season hungry and have continued to stay so.”
And so VMS returns to the 1A State Tournament, which begins today down at the Denver Coliseum. After being the surprise team at the tournament last year, VMS has a big, blue-and-white bull’s eye on its back. With a mark of 24-0, the Gore Rangers are ranked No. 1 in the eight-team field, a nice honor for the team which had been pegged in the two-spot behind Flagler for most of the season in the state polls.
“We put ourselves in a position to give them no opportunity except to give us the No. 1-seed,” Garvey said. “The girls should be really proud because they really earned that. Nobody can take that away from them in that situation.”
The No. 1 seed has its benefits. First off, VMS will have time off between games. Second, for the team’s state newcomers, VMS’ first game is at 8 a.m., which means the team can get its state legs when the normally-raucous Denver Coliseum will be at its quietest.
That 8 a.m. opener will be against Caliche, which went 20-9 and finished third in the Lower Platte Conference. The Buffaloes have a loss to No. 5 Otis on their record and a 2-3 mark against No. 2 Julesberg.
The matches will be played consecutively on Court 1, which means that there are not definite times for VMS’ next two games. Last year, matches on Friday ran ahead of schedule as the higher-seeded teams quickly separated themselves ahead of the field. Allowing for an hour per match, Match 5 – VMS vs. Otis – would go off at noon. As always, your mileage may vary.
The Bulldogs bring a 22-5 record to the dance and are the YWKC champs. Otis is 2-0 against state competition this year and had a three-set win over No. 3 Flagler at regionals last weekend.
One note about Otis is that the its fight song goes to the tune of the CU fight song, which prompted the VMS faithful last year to break out their Buffs’ pride and sing along. As a service, here are the words, courtesy of the CU Web site:
Fight CU down the field,
CU must win
Fight, fight for victory
CU knows no defeat
We’ll roll up a mighty score
Never give in
Shoulder to shoulder
We will fight, fight
Fight, fight, fight!
No word on the music Karval will bring, but the Trojans are VMS’ final pool opponent. Start time for Match 9 is approximately 4 p.m. Karval comes out of the High Plains conference with a 19-5 record. The Trojans played No. 6 McClave three times and posted a 1-2 mark.
“I was impressed with Otis. I was actually happy we got Flagler last year, instead of Otis, as far as the semifinals went,” Garvey said. “So I think they’re a very competitive team. I know they lost a few players, but they’re obviously back there again and have knocked off Flagler last weekend. I’ve heard McClave has a couple of big girls. So we’ll see.”
In the other pool, it’s Julesburg (22-2), Flagler (23-2), McClave (23-2) and DeBeque (17-8). The top two teams from each division meet in playoff action on Saturday.
Chris Freud is the sports editor for the Vail Daily. Contact him at (970) 949-0555, ext. 614 or by e-mail at email@example.com.