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Aspen boys win double-overtime lacrosse thriller

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The Skiers boys lacrosse team displayed a flare for the dramatic the last time it squared off with Grand Junction, battling back from a two-goal halftime deficit to pull out a 13-10 win.

Those late-game heroics continued on a soggy Friday afternoon at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus. Mike Aresty scored twice in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter to tie the game, then Nicky Ufkes found the net in double overtime to propel Aspen past the Tigers, 6-5.

“They played whistle to whistle from the first one until the eighth minute of overtime,” Skiers head coach Mike Goerne said. “This was definitely a game that the boys needed to win coming off Summit.”

Goalkeeper Daniel Ryerson turned away 17 shots, but Skiers mistakes proved costly in Tuesday’s home loss to Summit. They came out focused Friday, producing a goal on the game’s first possession; Cody Horn won the opening face-off, sprinted up field and scored after just 10 seconds had elapsed.

Later in the first quarter, defender Grant Huber scooped up a loose ball and ran the length of the field for an unassisted score.

Zach Ware added a goal in the second quarter for the Skiers, who trailed, 4-3, at halftime.

“It was a physical game with a lot of up-and-down transition opportunities,” Goerne said. “Aspen played hard and really well. … Grand Junction did a great job of possessing the ball the whole game. We played incredibly patient, fundamental defense.”

The deficit ballooned to two in the fourth quarter, before Aresty helped the Skiers mount a late comeback. He found the net on a man-up situation late in the fourth, then scored one possession later; Horn won the face-off, the ball was jarred loose, then an Aspen player scooped it up and found Aresty on the backside to square the game.

Both teams had opportunities to score in the first and second overtimes, Goerne said. Ufkes made his count.

The junior sidestepped his defender late in the second extra period, then scored to seal the dramatic win.

“The boys really dug deep,” Goerne said.

The Skiers host Battle Mountain at 11 a.m. in Saturday’s home finale.

Aspen could have folded. Instead, it decided to put up a fight.

The Skiers girls lacrosse team trailed 6-0 at halftime in Friday’s road game against Grand Junction. They battled back with five goals in the game’s final 15 minutes to make things interesting before falling, 9-5.

“You know, the girls came out of halftime and realized what was on the line,” Aspen head coach Meredith Elwell Sauder said. “More than anything, I think this showed us what kind of capability we have when we put our minds to it, when we realize … how aggressive we need to play and how much work it really takes to win games.”

The Tigers scored two goals in the first 52 seconds of the second half, and nine in the final 25 minutes en route to a 13-5 win in the first meeting between these squads April 5. Friday, they wasted little time pulling out in front.

“I think we were a little hesitant. We sat back and kind of waited for the ball to come to us,” Elwell Sauder said. “Against a competitive team like Grand Junction, that’s not going to happen. … Our defense did a great job and [goalkeeper] Molly Kandota had some unbelievable saves. She got pretty peppered.”

Aspen (2-4) regrouped in the second half. Delaney Connor led the charge, scoring three times. Isabelle Woodrow and CoCo Writer added goals for the Skiers, who host Eagle Valley at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

“We could’ve gone in two directions. I think our team chose the right one, which is awesome,” Elwell Sauder said. “I’m certainly proud they did that, but hopefully this leaves a little bit of a memory in them that they can’t wait until the last 15 minutes to come back.

“Hopefully we’ll learn from this and remember this.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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