Aspen girls cruise past Rangely in regular-season soccer finale
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN – Aspen head girls soccer coach John Gillies’ main objective Wednesday was to make sure his squad had a relaxed, memorable regular-season finale.
Now, it’s on to more important business.
“They’re smiling and they had fun,” the coach said after his team’s 4-1 victory over winless Rangely. “We needed to get that out of the way so we can focus on states.
“I assure you we’ll be back to work tomorrow.”
The Skiers were dominant, but inefficient Wednesday. They controlled the tempo and routinely applied pressure on the Panthers defense, but could muster just four goals – all from seniors playing what could be their final game on the home turf. That was more than enough to seal a fourth win in the last five games, however.
Barring any Coal Ridge losses this week, the postseason-bound Skiers, who improved to 11-2-2 overall, will finish third in the final 3A Region 4 standings.
State-playoff seedings will be released Sunday afternoon.
Aspen jumped on Rangely early Wednesday. After Kate Moyer’s shot was deflected in the second minute, Haley Rinaldi tracked the ball down, turned and fired a hard liner that clipped the top portion of the net.
Similar prime scoring chances abounded in the opening half – but not goals.
“I think the passing was good, and I feel we communicated well as a team,” sweeper Sally Boelens said. “We just got unlucky with our … opportunities.”
Moyer extended the lead in the 36th minute. She absorbed contact while splitting two defenders, then drilled a shot just inside the far post, stretching the lead to two at halftime.
The Skiers scored four times in the first 40 minutes in April 2’s 9-0 win over the Panthers (0-12-3).
Aspen padded its lead with two more goals in the second half. In the 48th minute, Abbi Cook chased down a through-ball up the far side, paused and slipped a shot past the Rangely goalkeeper.
Boelens got into the act in stoppage time when, after moving to forward, she controlled a well-placed cross and went high for the goal.
“A dream come true is the best way to describe it,” she said, beaming. “I don’t usually get opportunities to score, so it was pretty awesome.”
The Panthers cut the lead to three in the final minute on an athletic boot from nearly 30 yards out. The goal was Rangely’s second in its previous six games.
The competition gets tougher from here for the Skiers, who are scheduled to open postseason play Wednesday, May 12.
“I know we would’ve liked to be first [in the league], but we’ll take where we are,” Boelens said. “We’ve seen that we can play with the really good teams.”
“The girls know they can achieve something this year,” Gillies added. “I’m sure they want to keep this season going.”
A local kid got on the X Games Aspen podium on Sunday night, but it wasn’t the one most people expected. Even Jon Sallinen didn’t think he’d be taking home a medal.