Aspen girls ready to defend soccer title |

Aspen girls ready to defend soccer title

Ben Husband

The Aspen High School girls’ soccer team will begin its defense of the league title it earned last year at 4 p.m. today, when the season kicks off against Eagle Valley.

The Skiers, who won their first-ever Western Slope Conference championship last year after cruising to a 6-0 record, host Eagle Valley at the AHS soccer field.

The game will be the opener in WSC league play for both teams.

Aspen, who forced a 3-3 tie against Steamboat Saturday, enters the game with a 4-2-2 record.

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.

Aspen has struggled to maintain a consistent starting lineup so far this season due to injuries and absences. But coach Kris Hattrup said that’s where the talents of the team come into play.

“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.

“I’m still not sure who my starting team will be on Tuesday because there is just so much depth on this team. But if we continue to play the way we have been, we are definitely ready for the league.”

The Skiers are led by the forward duo of freshman Lacee Patterson and sophomore Ellen

Falender. Patterson scored twice against Steamboat Saturday and Falender recorded three assists.

The Skiers are also helped offensively by fellow forward Ashley White. Senior All-Conference midfielder Courtney Brinkerhoff is nursing an injured foot and her playing status is uncertain.

Defensively, Aspen is paced by junior defenders Natalie Soonthornswad, Abby Norton and Kelli Dangler. Sophomore Kate Linehan, who made some impressive key saves against the Sailors, is Aspen’s top goalkeeper.

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