VMS knocks off Coal Ridge, 3-2
NEW CASTLE ” What would be a Vail Mountain soccer game without a trip to the hospital? We joke because otherwise we’d be crying.
VMS got goalie Sean Minett back on the pitch, much to everyone’s relief, including stand-in Carder Lamb. The Gore Rangers, however, lost Jackson Higgins to an ankle injury with five minutes to go Thursday.
In other VMS soccer developments, the Gore Rangers rounded out the regular season with a 3-2 win at Coal Ridge.
“We leave the field knowing there are still some unanswered questions,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “We don’t know how Blake Armstrong (concussion) is going to respond, and now we don’t know what the situation with Jackson is.”
“This team, all season long, has been strong in the face of adversity. We recognize that the adversity is in a form we can’t control. We do have guys who have a clear understanding of our system and whocan fill those spots.”
Welcome back, Carder
Lamb returned from his stint in goal to midfield in style. He scored off a header from a Chris Woods corner kick. Tied at one, Lamb struck again.
Reed O’Brien pounced on a Tony Ryerson rebound for the game-winner.
Meanwhile, Minett, who was cleared to play at last after an injury against Basalt, got his legs again between the pipes.
“It was critical that we played him the full game to adjust,” Bandoni said. “It takes a little while to get back in the flow of things. We still had a number of people in different positions and struggled with our rhythm. While we were not as effective as we could have been, we were still able to control the run of play.”
With the win, VMS finished the 3A Slope with a record of 11-1 and are 12-2-1 overall.
“It seemed like we wouldn’t have much on the line, but this game was huge in terms of seeding,” Lamb said. “If we’re in the top eight, we’d get home field advantage, and we play much better on our home field. We really wanted to win this. It was scary, but we pulled it off.”
With that, Lamb brought up the $64,000 question. VMS will don its postseason orange for the first time since 2004, but as what seed?
VMS want to be in one of the top-eight spots in the 16-team field so that the Gore Rangers can show off their orange to a home crowd in the first round of the state playoffs. For what it’s worth, VMS is No. 6 in Thursday’s Rocky Mountain News poll.
Unlike 2004, the last time VMS qualified, the six league champions of 3A are not guaranteed first-round home games. If the 3A seeding committee, nevertheless, decided to seed league champions in favorable spots regardless of a league’s strength, VMS will be hard-pressed to crack the top eight.
If the committee takes into account the quality of the state’s leagues, look for East champion, Weld Central, and the North’s possible champion, Lutheran Parker or Alexander Dawson, to drop allowing VMS a home game.
The seeds go up on chsaa.org Sunday.
Glenwood Post-Independent reprter Jeff Casperson contributed to this report.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.