A great soccer season came to a screeching halt last weekend in the second round of this year's 3A state soccer playoffs.
Delta won its opening round contest against Peak to Peak (the number 13 seed) by a 3-0 score. In second-round play, the Panthers had to play a league foe, Vail Mountain, which was the league champion, for a chance to advance to next week's play. The Gore Rangers' home turf was too much for the Panthers and two late scores in the second half ended Delta's 2016 season, 2-0.
Delta 3, Pumas 0
This contest was played on Vail Mountain's turf field, which is a very fast surface, and not easily mastered by teams not having any experience on similar surfaces.
Prior to the playoffs, coach Elaine Wood noted the loss of goalie Joe Holliman, to a broken collarbone two days before playing in the state tournament. Wood had Dusty Long (freshman) as a backup along with Felipe Bedoy and Anders Schopp.
Against Peak to Peak, the Panthers had 25 shots on goal.
Three goals were scored, with Brandon Harper scoring two times and Martin Corral netting the third goal. Individual assists went to Harper, Corral and Sergio Campos.
Long and company held Peak to Peak to just three shots on goal.
"We played with passion. We were tough defensively throughout the field and were creative and quick offensively," stated Wood.
VMHS 2, DHS 0
Saturday's second round was a rematch between the two soccer teams.
Vail Mountain had claimed a narrow 1-0 victory in an earlier season match and made it a sweep with the 2-0 win on Saturday.
Long was, again, in goal as play began against Vail Mountain. The freshman gained plenty of experience for the future as he was credited with 13 saves.
The Panthers had 12 shots on goal.
Defense on both teams was intense with the halftime score knotted at 0-0.
A penalty kick for Vail Mountain resulted in the game's first score on Robby Gruber's goal. A little later in the game, the Gore Rangers scored again on a Gruber goal to make it a 2-0 finale.
"Vail Mountain is a scrappy team that never gives up. Yheir pressure and speed was good. Their control on that turf field is excellent. We played well, but lost the ball too many times. They (Vail Mountain) capitalized on everything. It is a tough end to the season, but, we had a successful and positive year. We will miss our seniors who were so valuable and such great leaders," quoted Wood.