Skiers rally to beat Battle Mountain 2-1
The Aspen High School boys soccer team came into Saturday’s homecoming game against Battle Mountain sporting a 7-0-0 record.
The Skiers had won by scores like 9-0, 5-0 and 5-1 and had not, for all intents and purposes, really been challenged in the first few contests of the year.
But against a gutty Huskies’ team, the Skiers would get their first tough test of the season, and they would pass with flying colors.
The Skiers scored two late goals to overcome a 1-0 halftime deficit and run their record to 8-0-0 (2-0-0 in the 3A Western Slope Conference) with a hard-fought, 2-1 victory over Battle Mountain.
“That game is what we needed,” said Grant “Junior” Sutherland, who coaches the Skiers along with Jon Gillies. “We needed to come back in a game and see what we’ve got inside.”
Aspen got off to a quick start in the game when forward Chris Erickson hit the post with a shot in the opening minute of action, but it was the Huskies who drew first blood.
Some rough play in front of the Aspen net led to a direct kick in the box for Battle Mountain. Goalie Tony Prykril made a nice diving save on the shot, but it was ruled that he moved too early, so the Huskies were awarded a second kick, and this time they converted to take a 1-0 lead.
Despite a number of good scoring chances for the Skiers, the score remained 1-0 until, with about eight minutes to play in the first half, Brendan Wynn fired home a shot off a brilliant pass. But the officials claimed Wynn was offsides and negated the goal, and the half ended with Battle Mountain clinging to the one-goal lead.
The second half opened with some good passing on the part of both teams, leading to scoring chances at both ends of the field. Each rush down the field, however, was countered by some stalwart defensive work, and the score remained the same.
Eleven minutes into the half, Erickson was hit with a yellow card and had to go to the bench for a time, leaving the Skiers without their second-leading scorer. Despite the setback, the Skiers kept up the pressure but were unable to score.
Finally, with just 18 minutes left in the contest, Erickson returned to the Skiers lineup, picked up a loose ball in front of the Battle Mountain net, turned and fired home a low shot that beat the Huskies’ goalie and knotted the game at 1-1.
Buoyed by the goal, Aspen scored again just four minutes later when a header by Cory Robinson, off a free-kick feed from Erickson, found the back of the Battle Mountain goal.
With the lead at 2-1, the Skiers defense, triggered by co-captain Michael Stege and Duncan Delano, took over and shut down the Huskies’ attack. But with two minutes left, Battle Mountain had one last chance when two forwards got behind the Aspen defense. However, the Huskies were thwarted by Prykril.
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