Aspen soccer rolls toward league title | AspenTimes.com

Aspen soccer rolls toward league title

Jon Maletz

A 3A Western Slope title is now firmly within the Aspen soccer team’s reach.The Skiers (11-2, 9-1), who jumped to third in this week’s Rocky Mountain News 3A state poll, took another step toward winning their first league crown since 2000 with an 8-0 win Tuesday over first-year program Coal Ridge. The Skiers can clinch first place with one win in their final two games – against Vail Mountain School on Saturday and Colorado Rocky Mountain School on Tuesday.”The kids were focused today,” Aspen head coach Junior Sutherland said. “They knew the importance of this game and came out fired up. This game really set us up for next week.”It took only 20 seconds for Aspen to net its first goal. The Skiers stole the ball from the first-year Titans, then pushed it out wide to the left. Senior forward Stephen Buzbee went up in the box on the ensuing crossing shot and tried to head the ball home, but was initially thwarted by Coal Ridge goalkeeper Skylar James. Skiers senior Eric Sciarrone, standing near the back post, controlled the deflection off James and found the net for the first of two goals. Sciarrone was one of six Skiers to score in the game.Less than 15 minutes later, Buzbee, who is averaging two goals per game during his last five contests, stretched the lead. Senior Bo Gallagher scored in the 35th minute on a strong shot from 30 yards out. “Overall, we played well,” Sutherland said. “We were knocking the ball through and finishing things off today.”Senior Nicky Anastas scored two of the Skiers’ five second-half goals to help his team pull away. Junior Tyler Moore and Henry Pineda also scored for Aspen, which rested injured senior keeper Andy Conarroe for a second consecutive game. Conarroe injured his shoulder in a collision with a Vail Mountain forward in the first half of a game on Sept. 30, and was forced to leave the game. The Skiers ultimately lost to the Gore Rangers, 3-2, in double overtime. Aspen has a chance to avenge its only league loss Saturday when the two teams meet again. This time there is a lot on the line; Aspen is vying for a league crown, and the Gore Rangers are fighting for a playoff berth.The Skiers last won the Western Slope in 2000, when they advanced all the way to the state championship game. There, they lost to Faith Christian, 3-2.”It’s going to be a big game. These kids want to prove themselves,” Sutherland said. “We could draw Saturday and win Tuesday and still clinch, but the kids want to win. They want to prove they can play better than that loss.” Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is jmaletz@aspentimes.com

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