Aspen girls cruise to victory in Rangely |

Aspen girls cruise to victory in Rangely

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

RANGELY, Colo. – The Aspen girls soccer team played on grass Friday for the first time in six games this season. The natural surface did little to slow the Skiers’ offense.

Aspen struck for four first-half goals against host Rangely, and six different players scored in a 9-0 win – the Skiers’ fifth straight.

“The trip was worth it,” Aspen head coach John Gillies said. “The girls certainly found [the grass] to be fairly different. The ball was getting stuck under their feet, but they passed the ball OK. … We played the ball well and crossed well and made ourselves available. We started to get more comfortable.”

Haley Rinaldi and Amanda Zalk scored twice, while Kate Moyer, Austin Owen, Abbi Cook and Lauren Anderson each added one goal each for the Skiers (5-1). A Panthers player also pitched in, knocking a Moyer cross into the Rangely net.

Goalkeeper Lindsey Anderson and the Aspen defense stood tall again – despite playing shorthanded for a stretch. After the Skiers went up by seven in the second half, Gillies pulled two and played with just three defenders.

“That put a lot of pressure on them,” the coach said. “It was good to get another clean sheet.”

Aspen has shut out its last five opponents. The Skiers have scored 15 goals in their last two games and are outscoring opponents 26-2 this season.

The lone goals Anderson has surrendered came in March 9’s season-opening, double-overtime loss at home to rival Basalt. The two teams will square off again at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

The Longhorns are 4-0-1 and blanked Grand Valley 8-0 in their last game March 22.

“We feel OK about playing Basalt again,” Gillies said. “We’ve certainly got a big enough squad that is old enough and mature enough not to be scared playing them.”

The Skiers faded down the stretch at home Tuesday, surrendering two goals to Fruita Monument in the waning minutes. They were not about to let another one slip away Friday in Grand Junction.

Aspen battled back from a two-goal, halftime deficit to square the game at eight early in the fourth quarter. It closed on a 5-2 run to top the Tigers, 13-10, and pick up a fifth win in six games this season.

“It was a hard-fought game from the beginning – the game stayed within two goals the entire way until the end,” Skiers head coach Mike Goerne said. “The guys came out and really worked hard to get the ball to each other. We executed well.”

Goerne’s decision to move Nicky Fuller to attack proved to be shrewd, as the senior led the team with four goals. Teammate Rex Christensen added three scores, one more than he produced Tuesday.

“[Fuller] played an amazing game. He was really getting the offense moving and set some other guys up for big opportunities to score,” Goerne said. “He had quite a few himself, too.

“The boys are in shape and kept going hard. We just kept turning up the intensity the whole game.”

The effort produced key goals down the stretch. Goalkeeper Daniel Ryerson and the Aspen defense made sure the lead held up.

“The defense did a tremendous job against some very good offensive players,” Goerne said. “They did a good job of supporting each other off the ball, sliding and forcing Grand Junction only to have bad scoring opportunities.”

Saturday, the Skiers will get another shot at Fruita.

“We’re so excited to get back on the field with them,” Goerne said. “We showed what we were capable of doing. … We’re right where we left off before spring break.”

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