AHS soccer team hosts state quarterfinal today
Playoff action heats up this week for Aspen High School teams, with boys soccer and girls volleyball preparing for big games as they continue their marches through the postseason.
Soccer will take center stage first with a game at 2 p.m. today at the Aspen High School field. The Skiers will square off against state powerhouse Alexander Dawson in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.
Aspen will be seeking a measure of revenge against the Denver-area private school, which ended the Skiers’ season last year in the state semifinals. The Mustangs upended Aspen 5-0 after beating them earlier in the regular season.
Aspen and Dawson have already played this year, with the Skiers prevailing 3-1 in a September match-up in Aspen.
Aspen heads into the state quarterfinals on a bit of a roll after demolishing Colorado Springs School 8-0 on Saturday, and coaches Jon Gillies and Grant “Junior” Sutherland like the way the team is playing right now.
“We stepped up Saturday and played really nice,” said Sutherland. “The guys are starting to peak at just the right time.”
Gillies and Sutherland also wished to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the parents and volunteers who took up shovels, backhoes and Bobcats to clear the snow off the field before Saturday’s game.
“It was fantastic,” said Sutherland. “It shows how close we’ve all come together as a community.”
Win or lose today, it will be the final home game for Aspen’s seniors, a group that has pushed the Skiers’ soccer program to new heights.
They have been to the state’s final four the last two seasons and will be looking to make it three years straight when they take the field against the Mustangs. The winner will play in the state semifinals Friday evening in Denver, but the Skiers will try to put that thought out of their heads for now.
“We’re looking no farther than Wednesday’s game,” said Sutherland. “There’ll be some nerves, but we’re capable of stepping it up.” Volleyball The Lady Skiers volleyball team will be heading to Lutheran High School in Denver on Friday for Regional playoff matches. Play will begin at 9 a.m. Friday with a round-robin format.
Aspen advanced to the Regionals on the strength of a second-place finish at the District Tournament in Grand Junction last weekend.
The Skiers, coached by Matt Bergdahl, stormed through their first three matches before bowing out to Hotchkiss in the finals.
But since the top two teams from the District tourney advance to Regionals, Aspen was already assured of a berth and succumbed a bit to fatigue after a hard-fought semifinal win over Battle Mountain.
At Regionals, Aspen will be in a bracket that includes Lutheran, the No. 1-ranked 3A team in the state, Weld Central and Centauri. The top two teams from the bracket will move on to the State playoffs starting on Friday, Nov. 12.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Bergdahl. “We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’ve got the potential.”
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