Aspen soccer keeps playoff hopes alive | AspenTimes.com

Aspen soccer keeps playoff hopes alive

Aspen Times Staff Report

Behind two goals from Phil Salazar, Aspen soccer kept its playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 win over the Colorado Rocky Mountain School Saturday at CMC’s Spring Valley campus.

Aspen needs to win at home Tuesday against Basalt, the Class 3A Western Slope Champions, to guarantee a berth in the 24-team Class 3A state tournament.

“The concentration has to be 100 percent on Tuesday,” said Grant “Junior” Sutherland, who coaches Aspen with John Gillies. “We’ve got to come out of the changing room ready to go. They control their own destiny so it’s up to them what they want to do.”

Salazar and Reid Hansen scored goals in the first half against CRMS, giving Aspen a 2-1 lead at halftime. A Nick Farrell score and another Salazar goal in the second half gave Aspen a 4-1 lead with about five minutes left, when CRMS scored two in a late rally.

“The kids shut off thinking it was over,” Sutherland said. “We’ve got to focus when we get ahead ? we need that killer instinct to finish a team off.”

Aspen’s Josh Lackey recorded the win in net as Aspen improved to 4-5 in league play and 7-7 overall. Sam Harder had two assists for Aspen, Scott Wooley and Hansen had one apiece.

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In the league standings, Basalt (8-1) has already locked up the league title and the top seed from the league to the playoffs, Vail Mountain (8-2) has secured the No. 2 berth, while the third and fourth berths remain to be decided among Aspen (4-5), Roaring Fork (3-5-1) and Eagle Valley (4-5-1).

Roaring Fork faces Eagle Valley on Tuesday creating a complicated playoff picture.

“It’s way confusing,” Sutherland admitted, “but the bottom line is we need to win.”

Aspen hosts Basalt at 4 p.m. Tuesday at the AHS field.