Aspen hosts state soccer playoff match |

Aspen hosts state soccer playoff match

Aspen will continue its quest for a state soccer championship this weekend.

The AHS boys soccer team, champions of the Western Slope Conference, will open play in the first round of the state playoffs on Saturday at the Aspen School District Field.

The match is scheduled for noon on Saturday – with the Skiers hoping for a big home crowd.

In case of snowy weather, the match will be moved to the field at Glenwood Springs High School in Glenwood Springs.

The Skiers, 13-1-0 on the season, will take on Colorado Springs School in the noon showdown on Saturday.

“We’re focused and ready to play,” said Grant “Junior” Sutherland, one of three co-coaches who are leading the AHS boys this fall.

“We’ve been successful because we’ve been able to work together,” Sutherland said of fellow coaches John Gillies and Kris Hatrup.

The three have worked together to help the Skiers into position to contend for a state title.

Sutherland emphasized the team is focusing on Saturday’s game in spite of a troublesome ruling last week that took away the Skiers’ final win of the season.

Aspen was ordered to forfeit the final game of the regular season against Basalt due to player eligibility problems (relating to the total number of halves played in the season, JV and varsity).

The forfeit loss did not affect seeding for the State Soccer Tournament. But the match does appear as a forfeit on the Skiers record.

“We haven’t lost on the field,” Sutherland said of the forfeit loss, which has added stress to the already strained relationship between Aspen and Basalt high schools. Sutherland said the AHS coaches will focus strictly on Saturday’s playoff game and the state tournament.

Colorado Springs School enters with a 4-10-1 overall record. And due to scheduling violations, the Colorado High School Activities Association has ruled that the head coach for Colorado Springs School will not be able to coach on Saturday in Aspen. An assistant will take his place.

Basalt will open the playoffs at Fountain Valley at 1 p.m. Saturday. Basalt is 10-3-1 overall and Fountain Valley is 9-4-1 entering Saturday’s playoff.

If Aspen wins on Saturday, the Skiers will advance to the quarterfinals aganst the winner of St. Mary’s vs. Alexander Dawson. Aspen edged Alexander Dawson earlier in the season in a match at Aspen.

If Basalt wins on Saturday, the Longhorns will take on the winner of the Colorado Academy-Pagosa Springs match. Colorado Academy is the No. 1 seed entering the 16-team 3A state playoff bracket. Colorado Academy is 13-1-1 on the year.

Battle Mountain also will enter the playoffs this weekend. The Huskies, seeded No. 13, will travel to Kent Denver, the No. 4 seed with a 12-2-0 record. Battle Mountain is 7-6-2.

Here is the bracket order of the 3A first-round matchups this weekend, with the matches scheduled at the site of the lower seed: No. 1 Colorado Academy (13-1-1) vs. No. 16 Pagosa Springs No. 8 Fountain Valley (9-4-1) vs. No. 9 Basalt (9-4-1) No. 4 Kent Denver (12-2-0) vs. No. 13 Battle Mountain (7-6-2) No. 5 Denver Christian (10-4-0) vs. No. 12 Telluride No. 3 Aspen (14-0-0) vs. No. 14 Colorado Springs School (4-10-1) No. 6 Alexander Dawson (10-5-) vs. No. 11 St. Mary’s No. 2 Faith Christian (11-2-1) vs. No. 15 Ignacio No. 7 Colorado Springs Christian vs. No. 10 (4-10-0). State quarterfinals must be completed by Nov. 3 with the state semifinal set for Nov. 5. The state finals are set for Nov. 9. Semifinals and finals will be played at Englewood High school in the Denver area.

Area 4A teams also will play in the state tournament this weekend.

The Glenwood Demons, guided by first-year coach Andy Pannell, will open the 4A State Soccer Tournament on Saturday afternoon at Grandview High School in Aurora (3 p.m.).

The Rifle Bears, also in the 4A playoffs, will travel to Broomfield on Saturday for a 1 p.m. match. Broomfield, seeded No. 2 statewide is 14-0-2 on the season.

Rifle will counter with a 6-9-1 mark and a big emotional win last weekend over Palisade in the Regionals.

Steamboat Springs, the No. 13 seed, also will travel this weekend. The Sailors will play at No. 4 Dakota Ridge (14-1-0) on Friday at 7 p.m. The match is set for Lakewood Memorial Field.

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