Unbeaten AHS soccer team takes league title
The Aspen High School boys soccer team defeated Basalt Tuesday evening to complete an undefeated regular season, a first for any sports team in the history of AHS, to the best of anyone’s knowledge.
With the 2-1 victory, the Skiers pushed their season mark to 14-0-0 overall and 6-0-0 in the 3A Western Slope Conference. For the season, Aspen had seven shutouts and outscored opponents 59-9.
The Skiers squared off against the Longhorns earlier in the season at Aspen and came away with a 5-2 non-conference win. But this time the stakes were a little higher. On the line was Aspen’s perfect record and the chance to make history.
“The kids were a little nervous,” said Grant “Junior” Sutherland, who coaches the team along with Jon Gillies. “The undefeated season was on the line and Basalt had no pressure on them.”
That anxiety on the part of the Skiers manifested itself in a scoreless first half, despite some strong play.
“In the first half we dominated, but we couldn’t put the ball in the net,” said Sutherland. “And as the game went on, Basalt got more and more confident.”
Aspen finally broke the deadlock with 20 minutes remaining in the contest when Brendan Wynn scored on a free kick from 35 yards out that snuck over the goalie’s head and found the back of the net. But the Longhorns answered right back about two minutes later with a goal of their own to knot the score at one apiece.
Roughly five minutes later, Aspen put home the game winner when Bridger Smith found Wynn with a beautiful through ball. Wynn slipped the ball past Basalt’s goalie to put the Skiers ahead to stay.
In addition to Wynn’s goals, Sutherland was also quick to credit Aspen’s defensive effort.
“Michael Stege had a great game,” he said, “and Tony Prikryl played outstanding in net.”
Next up for the Skiers will be a first-round playoff game at home on Saturday, Oct. 30. The opponent and the time have yet to be determined, but if the Skiers prevail in that contest, they will also get to host a second-round contest based on their sterling record in the regular season.
First, however, the Skiers will get some much-needed time off from practice to “rest and regroup,” according to Sutherland.
“They deserve everything they’ve got,” he said. “They’ve worked so hard.”
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