AHS kicks off soccer season in Montrose
The Aspen High School girls soccer team will begin what could be another phenomenal season today.
The Skiers kick off their season today when they travel to Montrose for a non-league game against the Indians. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.
The Skiers’ season opener also marks the debut of first-year coach Kris Hattrup who took over for Brad Jordan. Jordan resigned this summer after coaching Aspen for its first nine years.
“I’m excited,” she said. “I’m thrilled to be in a situation with such a great group of girls.”
And what a group she has.
The Skiers graduated just three players from last year’s team that advanced to the quarterfinals of the 3A State Tournament where they lost to Cheyenne Mountain 3-1.
Before advancing to the State Tournament, Aspen won the Western Slope Conference league title with a perfect 6-0 season that included a 1-0 upset win over Palisade.
“This is a great situation to walk into,” Hattrup said. “This team appears to have no weak spots – the girls are working hard and they are excited for the season.”
Headlining the list of returning players for the Skiers is sophomore forward Ellen Falender.
Falender, who was an honorable mention All-Colorado selection last year as a freshman, led the Skiers with 19 goals and returns as one of 3A’s deadliest scorers.
“To have the opportunity to coach a player with her talent is very exciting,” Hattrup said.
Joining Falender on the front line will be senior California transfer student Katie Schasieten who was an All-Conference forward last year.
“She’s an unbelievable player,” Hattrup said.
Also returning for the Skiers are senior midfielders Courtney Brinkerhoff and Gretchen Bleiler, forward Ashley White, and defenders Whitney Gordon and Abby Norton.
Junior star defender Natalie Soonthornswad will return to guide Aspen’s stingy defense along with fellow junior Kelli Dangler while sophomore goalkeeper Kate Linehan returns to guard the net.
In her first season as coach, Hattrup, who played college soccer at the University of Washington, said she just wants to have fun.
“I think it’s going to be a fun season,” she said. “I think that with the talent this team has, they can go all the way.
“Whether or not they can pull it together remains to be seen,” she continued. “But they have the talent to win it all this year.”
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