Skiers’ loss is VMS’ gain
EAST VAIL – The orange jerseys are returning to the Vail Mountain School.Gore Rangers soccer is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2004, after blanking Aspen, 2-0, on Saturday morning at Bandoni Alumni Field.”It’s awesome,” VMS junior Tony Ryerson said. “It’s going to be my first time wearing orange and I’m really excited for it.”
“We’re all going to be looking nice,” Jackson Higgins added.VMS’ journey to the playoffs and its Dutch-style postseason garb nearly got short-circuited in the last week. Goalie Sean Minett went down with a concussion in a 3-0 loss to Basalt. Back-up keeper Matt Stovall incredibly was injured in a 2-2 tie at Roaring Fork, opening the door for the Skiers on Saturday.But enter Carder Lamb, better known for his midfielding skills, as the team’s new keeper and a concerted defensive effort, and VMS treated its Spirit Week crowd to a win and a trip to the playoffs.”What we tried to do is give another dimension to the virtue of courage, and that is playing by principle,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “It happens at this level, that while they might believe in the principles, they first want to get a goal, and then play by principles. That’s the impetuousness of youth.”
“One of the principles we were training was our strikers coming back and offering a bigger target for us, and our midfielders always having a defender to play it back to.”While Bandoni was waxing poetic about the impetuosity of youth, the Skiers were left to wonder how they failed to make the playoffs just a year after winning the 3A Western Slope title.”That decision was made for us sometime last week,” Aspen coach Dave Francis said. “It was in our hands a little. We allowed it to get out of our hands. That’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s disappointing for the boys, certainly for the seniors who don’t have another year. But, you know, there’s still no reason not to play with some pride and represent your school.”While both sides were depleted – Aspen was missing some starters due to injury as well – Saturday’s game took on a familiar script. Vail Mountain’s Reid O’Brien was pulled down in the box during the 28th minute, giving the Gore Rangers a penalty kick.
Enter Ryerson, who won last year’s Spirit Week game against Aspen with a penalty kick in overtime.”I just took the same shot as last year, put it in the same spot,” Ryerson said of the ensuing goal. “It was great. It was great the P.K. came in the first half. There was a lot less pressure on me. It was good to go out to that early lead.”VMS added to that lead in the 37th minute when Rubin Saucedo, playing for Lamb in midfield, fed Higgins who was in all alone. Aspen goalie Alex Own made a spectacular save on Higgins’ first shot, but had no chance on the rebound. “I got a ball that was played across the box beautifully,” Higgins said. “I tried to get it into the net and it got the goalie dead on. Luckily, I got a rebound and it was easy to put in.”
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