Aspen boys lacrosse season ends with 5-3 playoff loss to Steamboat Springs
Even in a chilly downpour that proved to be the final moments of the Aspen High School boys lacrosse team’s season, AHS coach David Miller only felt the warmth of a game well played.
“We finally had the completest game that we’ve had all season. I’m happy. I’m really happy for these kids,” Miller said. “I’m sad it didn’t go the way we hoped it would have gone, but I think all-in-all it was a good game. The refs called it fair. Steamboat, hats off to them. They played a great game up and down the field.”
The Skiers’ season came to a close Wednesday with a 5-3 loss to visiting Steamboat Springs in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs at the AHS athletic field. The game started late because of the stormy weather, and much of the contest was played in heavy rain.
It was a rematch of the season opener between the mountain town rivals. Aspen won that first game, 8-7, in Steamboat, but it was the Sailors who got the last laugh.
“I expected it to be a close game, for sure. It’s been close all season long,” Steamboat coach Jay Lattimore said. “We were dying to make the playoffs. We made it and to get a team, a matchup of such a great game against Aspen and to come out on top, we are feeling pretty good, for sure.”
Steamboat, the tournament’s No. 10 seed, was first on the board, a goal by junior Davis Peterson less than two minutes into the opening quarter making it 1-0. Aspen answered with a goal from Dawson Holmes about six minutes later, and that proved to be the only two goals of the first half. The teams went to the halftime break tied at a goal each.
“That’s why you play the game. You don’t want the 17 to 3s. You want the 2-2s, 3-2s, whatever this ended up,” Miller said. “It was lacrosse the whole game. It wasn’t complaining about what the refs were calling or some cheap shots here and there. It was good lacrosse.”
The scoring picked up in the third quarter with each team getting a pair of goals. Steamboat took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Kiernan Hahn midway through the period, only to have Aspen’s Robbie Fitzgerald answer barely a minute later.
The Skiers took the lead at 3-2 with five minutes to play in the third quarter after a goal by Jordan Hornburg, but Steamboat’s Peterson scored the equalizer soon after to send the teams to the final quarter tied at 3-3.
“There was a lot of standing around,” Miller said of the offensive struggles. “Sometimes we can get away with it, sometimes we can’t. Today we couldn’t get away with standing around.”
The separation came in the fourth, when Peterson scored another to make it 4-3 with 10:11 to play, and sealed the deal with his fourth goal barely 30 seconds later with a man advantage.
“Davis has been there all season for us,” Lattimore said. “He did a great job finishing when we needed him to.”
Steamboat (9-7 overall) moves on to play at No. 2 seed Valor Christian (12-4) on Friday. Valor was a 13-3 winner over No. 15 seed Battle Mountain on Wednesday.
Aspen, the No. 7 seed, finishes the season 11-5 overall.
Also of note: No. 4 seed Vail Mountain beat No. 13 Windsor, 12-8, in the first round to advance to play No. 5 Conifer. No. 16 Summit lost, 21-2, at No. 1 Dawson School.
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