Unbeaten Skiers top Eagle Valley, CRMS
For the Aspen High School boys soccer team, Thursday’s contest versus Eagle Valley was just another game – on the scoreboard, anyway.
Using a combination of crisp passing and airtight defense that has been succesful all season long, the Skiers trounced the Devils 5-0 in the final home game of the season to run their season record to 13-0-0 (5-0-0 league).
More important than the score, however, were the seniors on the team who were playing their final regular-season game in front of the home crowds.
A group that has been together for many years now and has, the last two seasons, made it to the semifinals of the state playoffs continued what is shaping up to be the best season in Aspen soccer history with the win.
Senior Brendan Wynn carded a hat trick, and Aspen also got goals from seniors Bridger Smith and Michael Friedland to propel the team to a perfect 8-0 at home. Seniors Michael Stege and Cory Robinson played inspired defense in shutting down the fast-breaking Devils and helped senior goalkeeper Tony Prikryl record his fifth shutout of the season.
Earlier in the week, Aspen had looked lackluster in defeating Colorado Rocky Mountain School 5-2, but the team seemed to get things back on the right track for the game against Eagle Valley.
“We’ve been letting it get a bit slack recently,” said coach Grant “Junior” Sutherland. “It’s looking better for us now. We’re getting more focused.”
Friedland opened the scoring for the Skiers 14 minutes into the game when he blasted a long shot from the right side that just cleared the leaping Eagle Valley goalie and found the back of the net. Wynn made it 2-0 with just under eight minutes to play in the first half when he got free behind the defense and slipped the ball past the drawn-out keeper.
Eighteen minutes into the second half, Wynn tallied again on a similar play to push the score to 3-0. Just three minutes later, senior Chris Erickson found Smith in front of the net with a pass. Smith turned and fired a shot that deflected in off the left post.
Wynn then completed the scoring and his hat trick as time ran out by heading the ball into the net off a corner-kick feed from Erickson.
Next up for the Skiers will be the final game of the regular season Tuesday at Basalt (4 p.m. varsity start). In a September match-up, the Skiers upended the Longhorns 5-2, so Basalt will be seeking a measure of revenge in front of its fans. For the Skiers, it will be a chance to complete an unblemished regular season and get geared up for the playoffs, which begin the final week of October.
“It’s nice to go undefeated at home,” said coach Jon Gillies. “We played well. Hopefully we’ll be pumped up for Basalt.”
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