AHS and Steamboat tie 3-3 | AspenTimes.com
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AHS and Steamboat tie 3-3

Ben Husband

CARBONDALE – Despite missing several starters from its lineup, and frigid playing conditions, the Aspen High School girls’ soccer team still managed to give a good performance Saturday.

Hosting Steamboat Springs, last year’s Class 4A state champions, in a rain-drenched contest, the Skiers fell behind early, but managed to come alive in the second half to force a 3-3 tie with the Sailors at the River Valley Ranch soccer field.

Missing from the Skiers’ lineup were starters Courtney Brinkerhoff, Ashley White, Natalie Soonthornswad, Katie Schasiepen and Whitney Gordon.

“We only had two girls on the field that are regular starters,” first-year coach Kris Hattrup said.

But despite the number of missing players, Hattrup said, “the girls played fabulous together.”

With the tie, the Skiers sit at 4-2-2 overall entering the start of Western Slope Conference play Tuesday, when they host Eagle Valley (4 p.m.) at the AHS soccer field.

After losing their first game of the season to Montrose, the Skiers have won three of their last five games, including a 3-1 win against Monarch (Louisville) and a 4-0 shutout win against Alexander Dawson two weeks ago.

“We have a lot of depth on this team,” Hattrup said. “We have some key players that are directing the team and we are playing a simple game instead of an individual game.” Second-half show After falling behind 1-0 in the first half, Aspen’s savvy offense came alive in the second

AHS freshman forward Lacee Patterson continued her season scoring assault, tying the score at 1-1 five minutes into the second half off a great pass from sophomore Ellen Falender.

Four minutes later, the two underclassmen hooked up again as Falender lofted a pass from just beyond midfield over the Steamboat defense to Patterson.

As Falender’s pass sailed in front of Patterson, the Steamboat goalkeeper charged after the ball, but Patterson beat her to it and made a move around the keeper and sent a bullet to the back of the net. The goal gave Aspen a 2-1 lead.

“Both Lacee and Ellen are great players,” Hattrup said. “They play well together and they have a great connection with each other on the field.”

Minutes later, the Sailors scored to tie the game at 2-2, but Aspen came right back.

After a brilliant takeaway, Abby Norton – who was flawless on defense – sent a long pass to Falender on the wing. Falender then delivered a pinpoint pass to Kate Jensen, who played with a broken hand. She blew past two Steamboat defenders and angled a kick across the box for the score and the 3-2 lead.

“I think we didn’t let down because we have positive players on the field and they were able to help keep everybody’s head up, Hattrup said.

Norton’s defense earned special mention from her coach.

Playing in place of the absent Soonthornswad, Aspen’s defensive leader, Norton broke up several Steamboat offensive attacks with her quick move to the ball and tackling.

“We moved her into the center last week and she did not want to go there,” Hattrup said. “But I think she’s been great in that position – she’s tough and very commanding of the space.

“She’s a presence out there,” Hattrup continued. “She directed the ball well and kept the communication open.”

Aspen had little time to celebrate the lead, as Steamboat scored with eight minutes left in regulation to force the tie.

On Tuesday, the Skiers begin their defense of the WSC league title they captured last year with a perfect 6-0 record.

Hattrup has been forced to use different starting lineups in every game this year due to injuries, but she said her team will be ready to play Tuesday regardless of who’s on the field for the Skiers.

“I’m still not sure who my starting team will be on Tuesday because there is just so much depth on this team,” she said. “But if we continue to play the way we have been, we are definitely ready for the league.” BHS on a roll The Basalt High School girls’ soccer team is off to a scorching start this year.

In two games, the Longhorns have scored 13 goals and hold a 2-0 record.

Tuesday, Pat Hartigan’s Longhorns hope to keep the streak alive as they host Roaring Fork in the Western Slope Conference opener for both teams.

Kickoff is scheduled at 4 p.m. at the new BHS soccer field.

Last year, Basalt finished 2-4 in league play.

But with their great start, the Longhorns have shown early signs of talent and domination.

“We are a much quicker team this year,” Hartigan has said. “We have a quick-paced offense and we do a lot of passing.”

The Horns opened their season by crushing Eagle Valley, 8-0, behind two goals apiece from Ambere Cunningham and Sara Bogner.

Meagan MaCuen, Stephanie Kemp, Sarah Odenbeck and Cassidy Pokorny also scored in the romp for Basalt.

Two days later, Basalt traveled to Glenwood Springs for a matchup with the Demons, who moved up a classification from 3A to 4A this year.

Glenwood, which began the season ranked seventh in the preseason 4A polls, fell behind 3-1 at halftime as Basalt dominated from the opening tip and took a 5-4 win.

Cunningham and Sondia Houtzer both scored a pair of goals, while Stephanie Bair also scored for the Longhorns.

Above: Aspen’s Kate Jensen, middle, battles for the ball between two Steamboat players in Saturday’s game. Jensen scored on the play to force a 3-3 tie with the Sailors. Dan Bayer photo.

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