VMS takes out 4A Summit
EAST VAIL ” Tuesday’s game between the Vail Mountain School and Summit County was the equivalent of a M*A*S*H rerun. It was just hard to figure out who was playing “Hawkeye” Pierce.
The Gore Rangers entered the nonconference tilt banged up and Summit left it that way. Somewhere in between all of that, 3A VMS posted a 3-1 victory against the 4A Tigers at Bandoni Alumni Field.
VMS was without its two regular goalies, Sean Minett and Matt Stovall, as well as striker Blake Armstrong (concussion, knee and concussion, respectively), while Summit lost midfielder Hunter Black to nasty mouth cut which required stitches and Drew Beling to a broken nose.
“It was physical, and I don’t mind it,” Summit coach Justin Turri said. “I think a lot of times high school referees call it tight. I like to see referees who let them play. It was to (VMS’) advantage. They were more physical than us and it paid off for them.”
As for VMS, the team is still restructuring itself with midfielder Carder Lamb in goal and the ensuing domino effect.
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“You can see that our timing was off in the midfield,” Bandoni said. “We were stepping late defensively, and our timing was off in terms of our runs in the attack, as well. I thought the most difficult aspect of the game was the transition from attack to defense and defense to attack. The whole game, our timing wasn’t that great.”
But that was nothing that two goals from Tony Ryerson and another from Jackson Dowell couldn’t fix as the Gore Rangers notched their second win of the year against a 4A squad.
The beat continues
Despite no Armstrong and Lamb in the net, Ryerson continued his scoring ways. In the fifth minute, Ryerson took advantage of a Tigers’ turnover and found himself 1-on-1 with Summit keeper Kyle Hill.
Hill was outside of his 18 and Ryerson deftly headed the ball over him and the ball meandered into the net nicely. With Black and Beling going down in the first half, Dowell found himself outside the 18 well into stoppage time and capitalized. He cracked his shot into the net for a 2-0 lead, going into the break.
“I guess I just had a little space at the top of the 18,” Dowell said. “Our strikers were doing well at holding the ball and keeping some possession. They knocked it back to me and I had a good chance for the shot.”
The highlight-reel goal came in the 66th minute, when Jackson Higgins worked the right flank and fed Ryerson inside the box. Ryerson corralled the ball and beat Hill to the left side.
Summit’s goal came in the closing minutes from Dan Marion. That broke up Lamb’s attempt for a second-consectutive shutout at his adopted position. Both goalies played well. Hill couldn’t have been faulted for VMS’ tallies, while Lamb did make some key saves.
Summit finished the season with a 7-7-1 record overall, but a had solid 6-2-1 mark in the 4A Jeffco League, good for third. The Tigers now play the waiting game. To its credit, Summit did play a strong nonconference schedule, but did not fare well outside the Jeffco with losses to Battle Mountain, Centaurus, 3A powerhouse Kent Denver and 5A Kennedy.
The Tigers entered last year’s playoffs with a 10-3-2 record as the 19th seed, losing to Greeley Central, 3-0. Turri expects about the same this time around.
“We won’t get a home game,” the coach said. “Last year, we had a better record overall and a better conference record and we got ranked 19th last year. I think it will be about 18-20.”
Meanwhile for VMS, beating another 4A squad ” the Gore Rangers took out Steamboat Springs earlier this year ” will burnish its resume. At 11-2-1 overall and 10-1 in the 3A Slope, VMS’s only losses are to 3A No. 4 Denver Christian and No. 9 Basalt. The Gore Rangers were No. 6 in last Thursday’s Rocky Mountain News poll.
VMS finishes the regular season with a trip to Coal Ridge Thursday. Three points are critical for seeding as well as polishing the Gore Rangers’ game for next week’s state playoffs.
“Mostly, we have to play faster,” Bandoni said. “We still have to strike a better balance between playing directly and indirectly. I think sometimes we go into the attack too quickly. I don’t think that rhythm is right where it can be.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.