Vail Mountain prevails against Basalt
BASALT The blueprint for beating Basalt?The boys in blue from Vail Mountain School brought it with them to Tuesday’s battle between the last two unbeatens in the 3A Western Slope, making a first-half goal stand up in a 1-0 upset on the Longhorns’ home pitch.”I don’t want to pretend that there was any magic,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said of the win, which put his team atop the league standings with a perfect 7-0 record. “I thought it was a really evenly-played match, and we happened to get a goal and they didn’t.””They just wanted it more,” Basalt coach John McDermott said. “We just weren’t going in like we were supposed to be going in, and they know how to play.”
Basalt, which dropped to 6-1 in the Slope and 7-3 overall, had plenty of quality scoring chances in a first half in which it outshot VMS, 10-5, but all went for naught. Those missed opportunities cost the Longhorns dearly after VMS forward Jackson Higgins danced between two Basalt defenders in the final minute of the first half, then fired a laser into the back of the net that Longhorns goalie Marshall Cleveland never touched. Playing with the lead in the second half, Bandoni let his defense win the game. At numerous points in the final 40 minutes, 10 out of 11 VMS players – including goalie Sean Minett – were packed into the VMS side of the field to slow the Longhorns’ attack. Basalt’s strikers and midfielders only grew more and more frustrated as the clock ticked away.In the 57th minute, Basalt’s Mike Eaton had a clean shot on goal, but Minett swallowed up the ball. Basalt’s last chance for a goal came in the 77th minute when Ryan Mylott, charging form the left side, missed a wide open net on the left side of the goal, instead lining a shot right at Minett again.Basalt ended up outshooting VMS, 14-6.
“I thought that we stayed organized and disciplined defensively which is key against a very good team,” Bandoni said. “They switched field a lot, and it’s difficult to stay balanced when a team is switching field like that. I still think that we ought to be able to create more opportunities than we did.”Bandoni also said his team wouldn’t be celebrating the win for much longer than the bus ride home. “It’s going to be big either way,” he said. “The significance of that is it probably has some meaning for about 24 hours, then that’s going to die down very quickly. But what it does, of course, is it takes a little bit of pressure off us. Getting three points away any place in soccer is a positive thing and to come here and get three points is great. This group here is perennially the class of the Western Slope, so for us it’s, in some way, I really feel like we’re honored to win here.”McDermott admitted his team was a bit flat after its convincing 3-1 win Saturday over rival Aspen, and isn’t used to playing from behind.”It was just a lucky goal, and we missed a bunch of shots and we didn’t take advantage of it,” he said. “Against Aspen, when they scored their one goal, we came right back … Losses aren’t good to have, but they just wanted it more and my guys have to get hungry. They can’t be quitting on the field.
The Longhorns next host Paonia at 11 a.m. Saturday, while the Gore Rangers travel to Aspen to complete their first run through the Western Slope. Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com.
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