Aspen girls lacrosse holds off mighty Air Academy for a rare playoff win
The Aspen High School girls lacrosse team earned a rare playoff win Wednesday, beating powerhouse Air Academy in the first round of the state tournament on the AHS turf.
The 11-10 win sends the No. 13 Skiers into the Round of 16, where they’ll face No. 4 seed Regis Jesuit (13-2) on Friday night in Aurora. The Raiders had a first-round bye.
“I told the girls, the team that wanted to come out and work the hardest was the one that was going to walk away with the win, and it clearly showed,” first-year AHS coach Amanda Trendell said. “They just played 50 minutes all together.”
Aspen led 1-0 only a few seconds into the game off a goal from sophomore Charlotte Howie, and the shootout continued for much of the early portion of the game. The teams played to a 4-4 tie midway through the first half before AHS put some distance on their opponent later on to lead 7-5 at halftime.
Aspen’s lead reached as much as 9-6, but Air Academy, seeded No. 20, never went away and got within a single goal multiple times in the second half but could never get the equalizer. The Kadets made it 11-10 with 51 seconds to go, but never threatened from there.
The game was the second of three consecutive playoff games for AHS on Wednesday and started more than 30 minutes late because Air Academy was late getting to the field.
“It was tough because we were so anxious to play with the traffic and everything, but again it comes down to that mental toughness piece and as soon as that first whistle blows we are ready to go,” Trendell said. “And if there is one kid I can always count on being ready to go, it’s Charlotte Howie.”
Air Academy, which has three state titles to its name, finishes the season 8-8 overall. Aspen improved to 12-3 overall. It was the first playoff win for the Skiers since 2016 when they beat Pine Creek in the first round, 11-10.
When asked if he is receiving any insider information on the terrain, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde — the boyfriend of Edwards’ own Mikaela Shiffrin — chuckled and replied, “You probably think so, but I actually I don’t.”