Aspen girls soccer advances to second round with overtime win over STRIVE Prep
Basalt's season ended with a first-round loss at Salida
There wasn’t anything surprising about Aspen High School senior Samantha Edelman having a wide-open shot at the end, at least to coach Chris Ellis. The opposing goalie had been good, but had also let a lot of balls bounce freely after that first deflection during Thursday’s playoff game on the AHS turf.
This meant there was an opportunity for the Skiers.
“The ball comes down from the left side. Maddie Hicks does a low, hard cross into the box, which is always a threat,” Ellis said of that final play. “It’s hard for a defense to deal with that, to defend that, and we did notice that the goalkeeper was a good shot-stopper, but many of the shots would bounce free. So, we told them there were going to be opportunities if we followed up those shots. And that’s exactly what happened.”
As predicted, the deflection came to Edelman, who was left with a simple tap-in early in the second 15-minute overtime period, and Aspen was able to hang on for a 2-1 win over STRIVE Prep — SMART on Thursday in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament.
This came after the Skiers had allowed a goal with barely six minutes to play in regulation that tied it at 1-1. Aspen had dominated possession — and shots — most of the second half, but could never get any distance on the scoreboard.
“They didn’t play as I know they can play in the first half. They got it together much better in the second half, I thought. They got more shots on goal, more penetration, and we were much more of a threat in the second half,” Ellis said. “Both teams are going to have their moments, they are going to have their opportunities, but I felt fairly confident we would have a moment that would be decisive and win the game and it came out like that.”
STRIVE Prep, seeded No. 21, ends the season 11-5 overall.
As the No. 12 seed, AHS (8-5-1 overall) next will play Saturday in the second round against either No. 28 Woodland Park or No. 5 Colorado Academy. Those two teams play Friday at 6 p.m. in their first-round game.
Should it come down to it, Aspen and Colorado Academy do have recent history. Their last game was in the second round of the 2021 season — the first with Ellis as coach, after the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic — with Colorado Academy winning, 5-0.
“They are a good group of girls. They have worked hard this season and they have been very attentive with all the things we are trying to coach them,” Ellis said of his team. “When it gets to this point in the season, it’s time to execute. They just got to go out there and actually do it.”
Down the road on Thursday, No. 19 Basalt had its season end with a 3-0 loss at No. 14 Salida. The Longhorns finish 7-7-2 overall in their second year under coach Molly DeMarr.
Even farther afield, the No. 17 seed Roaring Fork girls won at No. 16 St. Mary’s Academy on Thursday, 5-0. The Rams will likely face No. 1 Jefferson Academy in the second round on Saturday, should the Jaguars get past No. 32 Regis Groff in their first-round game on Friday night.
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