Aspen boys lacrosse team turns back Tigers in thriller |

Aspen boys lacrosse team turns back Tigers in thriller

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado
Leah MoriartyJohn Heaphey unleashes one of his four goals Tuesday afternoon in Aspen's victory, 10-9, over Kris States (9) and the Grand Junction Tigers. Ryan Fitzgerald scored three times for the Skiers.

ASPEN – Spring break?

What spring break?

The Aspen High School boys lacrosse team ignored last week’s break, opting instead to sharpen their skills and practice for a big conference match looming against Grand Junction.

The Skiers, who trailed by three goals early, needed all that practice time in a dramatic 10-9 win over the Tigers on Tuesday in a game that came down to the final possession.

“Grand Junction has always been a good team. They’ve always been an extremely physical team,” Aspen coach Mike Goerne said. “That’s what they showed (Tuesday). With Grand Junction, it’s always a one-goal game.”

Early, it looked like a three-goal game when the Tigers, also coming off spring break, stunned the Skiers with three goals and a 3-0 lead.

“Grand Junction did a good job. They got their first bunch of goals,” Goerne said. “Then we got our bunch of goals.”

The Skiers scored seven of the next eight goals to take a 7-4 lead, a margin that grew to 10-5.

“That’s how this game works. The goals tend to come in strings,” Goerne said.

Grand Junction put its scoring string together over the final 4:40 of the game, netting four goals to put the pressure on the Skiers.

The last Grand Junction goal found the Aspen net with 14 seconds to play.

The Aspen defense in front of goalie Arthur Kelso turned back one last attack, and the Skiers improved to 6-1 overall.

“We were fortunate we got our big string of goals,” Goerne said. “Grand Junction never backed off. They took us down to the last 3 seconds.”

He said the Skiers benefited from “exceptional shooting” in Tuesday’s game played in

chilly conditions with a few light snow flurries.

John Heaphey scored four times to lead Aspen; Ryan Fitzgerald added three goals.

Jonathan Wells potted one goal; Colter Robinson added two more.

Scott Foster led Grand Junction with three goals and three assists, including a pair to Jeff Larson.

“We were in sync in the first quarter, then it seemed like we got winded,” veteran Grand Junction coach James States said.

“We were down five. Then, we woke up, and we came back in the fourth,” States said.

He pointed to Wells’ shorthanded goal for Aspen early in the fourth quarter.

“That killed us. One play can change a whole game,” States said. “Hats off to Coach Goerne and the Aspen boys. They played a great game.”

The Skiers will play at Fruita Monument on Thursday.

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