Aspen boys lacrosse opens with road win |

Aspen boys lacrosse opens with road win

The odds were stacked against the Aspen High School boys lacrosse team.

The Skiers faced a season-opening game in Lafayette against Alexander Dawson with a short roster and a weather-shortened preseason.

“We knew the game against Alexander Dawson would be an uphill battle,” said Mike Goerne, the veteran head coach of Aspen boys lax. With two starters missing because of a school tip, Goerne said the Skiers had to move players and add young players to the lineup.

And the Skiers’ scrimmages last weekend in Denver were snowed out.

In spite of the early challenges, the Skiers won their season opener 16-10 on Thursday afternoon on the Front Range.

“It was a little chaotic in the first half,” Goerne said as the Skiers adjusted to a major rule change this year — a rule that eliminates the 20-second substitution option when the ball goes out of bounds.

“The rule change makes it a much faster game,” the Aspen head coach said. “The kids have to play at a higher level. They have to recognize and react.”

He said the rule change will have a “big impact” on Colorado prep boys lacrosse this season.

“Each quarter, we got better. That’s the good thing,” Goerne said after the Skiers took the lead for good in the second period. The teams were tied 3-3 after the first period.

“We were trying to get back to our game,” he said, adding that Alexander Dawson had a strong faceoff player.

“Evan Morris ended up coming up huge for us,” Goerne said, adding that Morris was able to solve the Alexander Dawson faceoff puzzle.

Tyler Tick led the offense up front with six goals.

“He had a huge day. He did a really good job of finishing,” Goerne said.

Ryan Fitzgerald scored three goals, and Harry Ferguson added one.

That gave the Aspen attackers 10 of the team’s 16 goals.

John Heaphey scored three goals from the midfield.

Trey Robinson and Matt Sovich added a goal each.

Connor Peirce, a long-stick midfielder, also scored an early goal for Aspen.

“A long-stick middie … that’s a tough score,” Goerne said.

Freshman James Kistner stepped in and manned the goal for the Skiers.

“He had some big saves when we were a man down,” Goerne said. “He stood tall and strong.”

He said the Skiers were helped in their preseason preparations by lacrosse legend Jack Emmer, a longtime coach at Army and a former Team USA coach.

“It was a great thing for him to be able to work on the field with our guys,” Goerne said. “He’s a real legend. We were very fortunate to have him.”

The Aspen coach said the Skiers face a big week next week. They will play at Grand Junction on Tuesday.

“They’re always a physical, big team … a 5A team,” Goerne said.

Next Friday, March 14, the Aspen boys lacrosse team will open the home season against the state runner-up from a year ago – Air Academy High School.

“We’re really looking forward to that game,” Goerne said.

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