VMS to host regional game
Basalt captured its second straight 3A Western Slope title Thursday afternoon with a 2-1 win over VMS. The Longhorns, 8-1 in league, by virtue of winning the title, earned a bye through next weekend’s regional playoff round and will host a first-round state playoff game in two weeks.
“It feels good. The kids, that’s what they’re out there to do,” Basalt coach Erik Streff said. “We knew coming in it was going to be a tough game. Vail’s always tough.”
VMS will enter the postseason as the No. 2 seed out of the Western Slope. The Gore Rangers will host Metro No. 7. Right now, that stands as either Sheridan or, believe it or not, Machebeuf, which came to VMS in October of 1998 in the debut game for orange uniforms.
Against Basalt Thursday, VMS survived a very poor first half, during which the Longhorns took a 2-0 lead on two goals from Spencer Cleveland.
“What I was concerned about at halftime was were we ever going to play to our level, because we surely didn’t in the first half,” Bandoni said. “As we’ve said all along, we’ve had so many aspects of the game to develop and one of those is playing in a big game. I think it took us a whole 40 minutes to be able to get to a point where were could play with more confidence.
“You could see in the second half, I really thought we dominated in possession. We had a beautiful goal, I think one of the best build-ups we’ve had all year.”
That build-up came in the 65th minute when Duncan Robinson started it out of the back to Patrick Scanlan. The sophomore flicked it to Dane Jacobs, who made a gorgeous pass to Andrew Feldman. And, as has become the national pastime at VMS, the senior punched it in to halve the lead.
The Gore Rangers had several quality chances late in the game for the equalizer. Feldman was just wide left on a free kick. Robinson wound a beautiful corner kick toward the goal, but that was blocked by the Basalt goalie. And Tyler Kjesbo and Jacobs also had shots on goal in the waning minutes of the game.
VMS finishes up the regular season Saturday at 3 p.m., at Homecoming against Paonia. In a related development, CHSAA and Aspen athletic director Carol Sams, the 3A Slope delegate for soccer, finally ruled on Paonia’s status Thursday morning. Paonia is a conglomerate team of players from Paonia, Hotchkiss, Delta and Cedaredge. The Eagles hoped to be a 3A team, but protests were filed and Paonia was moved to 4A.
Given that Paonia is a 4A team, the Eagles have been ruled ineligible for the 3A playoffs and their games do not count toward the standings. As such, Saturday’s game is a nonconference game and VMS’ record now stands at 8-2 in league play and 9-3 overall.