Aspen boys lax collects long-distance win
The Aspen Times
The Skiers went to great lengths to pick up a victory over spring break.
The Aspen High School boys lacrosse team journeyed to Long Island, New York, this week on a special spring-break team trip.
In addition to a pair of scrimmages, the Aspen boys also played an official game in New York, sanctioned by the Colorado and New York high school organizing bodies.
The Skiers, coached by Mike Goerne, defeated Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale, New York, 12-8 in Wednesday’s longest road trip of the season.
“We had a good first quarter. We came out and scored four goals,” said Goerne, who guided the Aspen boys lacrosse team all the way to the state semifinals last year in a record season for the Skiers. “And we had a strong second quarter.”
The Skiers had a 9-3 halftime lead against the Firebirds, who play in the Catholic-Island Lacrosse League with familiar schools like Fordham Prep, Iona Prep, St. Dominic’s and St. Anthony’s.
Each team scored two goals in the third period.
The Skiers closed out the 12-8 win with three more fourth-period goals.
“I was really proud of the boys,” Goerne said, adding that the Skiers had assists on eight of their 12 goals. “That’s the best team game we’ve put together.”
Tyler Tick led the way on offense with six goals, playing on Long Island turf where his father Jon Tick had grown up as a player.
Tick scored on several fast-break, transition plays, Goerne said.
Harry Ferguson offered three assists for the Skiers.
Ryan Fitzgerald scored three goals and added two assists as the Aspen boys improved to 4-1 on the season.
John Heaphey scored a goal with two assists.
Trey Robinson added a goal as did Jonathan Wells.
Connor Peirce also collected an assist in the win over the large high school from Uniondale.
“Art Kelso played exceptionally well in goal,” Goerne said, crediting defenseman Zach Storm with a strong effort against Kellenberg Memorial’s top scorer. “He did a good job against him; good position defense against a good dodger.”
He said the Skiers enjoyed the opportunity to play against a bevy of NCAA Division I lacrosse recruits on Long Island. The Aspen team also excelled in scrimmages against other power lacrosse teams from Long Island.
Goerne said the passing and speed of play are faster in games against teams like Kellenberg Memorial. “Their stick skills as a team are exception. And they have a lot of skilled depth. But our kids like stepping into the big games,” Goerne said.
He said the trip to New York was made possible through the organizational efforts of Jon Tick and other AHS parents. Last year, the Skiers took a similar spring break trip to Florida before embarking on their run through the state playoffs.
This year, the Skiers are ranked as high as No. 2 in Colorado 4A lacrosse. Their only loss this year came against Arapahoe, one of the top-ranked 5A teams in the state.
The competition in New York is particularly timely, Goerne said, because the Skiers will return home to host Class 5A power Grandview on Friday, April 3.
The Aspen boys will play Telluride on April 4 in Grand Junction.
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ESPN’s Winter X Games is back in Aspen this week for the 20th straight year, although it’ll lack most of the usual flair. Out of precaution to safeguard against further spread of COVID-19, there won’t be any fans, any music and, well, really anything outside of the main competitions.