Aspen girls lacrosse rolls by Summit, sets up key game with Battle Mountain | AspenTimes.com

Aspen girls lacrosse rolls by Summit, sets up key game with Battle Mountain

It didn't take long for the Aspen High School girls lacrosse team to put away visiting Summit County on Wednesday and turn its attention toward Friday's season-defining showdown with Battle Mountain.

When the Huskies visit the AHS athletic field at 4 p.m. Friday, a lot will be on the line, notably the upper hand when it comes to winning the Mountain League, which includes an automatic bid to the postseason.

The Skiers also want to put behind them a 9-7 loss at Battle Mountain on March 15 in a non-league game.

"We had a tough game, mentally. I think our mental toughness is a lot better now than it was then," AHS senior co-captain Juliette Woodrow said of the first game with Battle Mountain, in which the Skiers lost an early 5-1 lead. "I think we are really excited because last year we made it to the second round of the playoffs and we definitely want to at least make it that far this year, so it's a big game for us."

Wednesday's 15-0 blowout of Summit (6-3 overall) felt more like a light scrimmage ahead of Friday's showdown with the Huskies. The Tigers put up little resistance from the start, which led to the Skiers building a 10-0 lead by halftime. Offensive possessions were few and far between for the visitors, who are having one of their best seasons in recent years.

Senior co-captain Mackenzie Miller led the Skiers with three goals, while three others had two goals each.

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"We did a great job coming up with ground balls and keeping the possession," Woodrow said. "We had a wide variety of scorers today, and that's awesome because it's been in the past couple of games the same group of girls, so it's been really nice to have a wider range of us."

The Skiers expect to have more of a test come Friday. Aspen is 4-4 overall and 3-0 in league play, a league in which it is the defending champion. Battle Mountain took second in league play last season, its only loss coming early in the season to Aspen, 12-7. The Huskies lost 7-6 to Eagle Valley on Wednesday, falling to 4-2 overall.

"The game with Battle, exactly like Juliette said, everyone got a little bit into their own heads and we didn't have everybody," AHS coach Jessica Owings said of the non-league matchup last month, noting the team only had one sub that game. "God bless the high school girls these days, because they are spread pretty thin, and we don't necessarily have the same people from game to game. That's what you are seeing in that record also."

Aspen entered Wednesday's game with Summit ranked No. 16 in the state in RPI, an important statistic that will be used to determine at-large bids to the state tournament. Battle Mountain was No. 11.

Friday's game with the Huskies is the first of two monster games in a row for the Skiers. They travel to undefeated Grand Junction on Wednesday, meaning two wins over these next two games would go most of the way to securing another league title, even with games against Durango and Eagle Valley still to come.

"We've played some other teams that have really challenged us and pushed us and I think that sets us up well for it," Owings said. "We have certainly a goal to build upon our season last year, which was making it to playoffs and being league champions. We definitely want to repeat that again. I think we are fully capable."

The Aspen boys lacrosse team is scheduled to host Summit County at 4 p.m. Thursday in a non-league game.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

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