Aspen High girls lacrosse finishes regular season undefeated for first time
It’s doubtful that Amanda Trendell would call her team perfect. No coach would.
But a decade into program existence, this year’s team did something no other team in the history of Aspen High School girls lacrosse has ever done, and that’s finish the regular season perfect.
“It’s amazing. We are really excited about it,” AHS senior Tyler Greene said. “Excited to continue into May. Amanda is an amazing coach and we are really lucky to have her, but we worked extremely hard for this and we do not have any intention of stopping yet.”
The Skiers, ranked No. 9 in this week’s CHSAANow.com media poll, hosted Telluride for senior day Saturday, winning 24-1 to conclude the regular season with a perfect 15-0 record. The program had its first varsity season in 2010, finishing 5-5, and not once has it finished below .500 in its history.
But going undefeated? That’s a new one.
“The Aspen team in general has always done really well,” Trendell said. “15-0 is awesome, but also what they are producing on the field as a team is awesome. From the first line to the second line, every attacker has scored this season.”
The 15 wins are easily the most in a season for the program, surpassing the 12 wins it has finished with on three occasions, including last year in Trendell’s first season as coach. She is the fourth head coach in AHS girls lacrosse’s short history.
But it’s more than the wins. It’s about the general dominance this year’s team has shown from start to finish. AHS has outscored its opponents 282-54 this season, which is an 18.8 to 3.6 points per game average.
According to MaxPreps, the 282 goals scored are the most in the state. Pine Creek is second with 271 goals scored over 15 games. The goals against? Yep, first in the state, with top-ranked and undefeated Colorado Academy being second on that list with 59 goals allowed.
Keep in mind there currently are no classifications in girls lacrosse, although CHSAA recently voted to add a second classification in coming years.
“We’ve become really close and that’s why we perform so well on the field. It’s really fun to be able to stand up against Denver teams,” said AHS junior Charlotte Howie, who, according to MaxPreps, leads the state with 78 goals this season. “There has never been an undefeated season, so it’s pretty cool to hold that title. It’s really exciting.”
If you’re looking for a weakness, it could be the competition. The Skiers seem to have outgrown their Western Slope counterparts and, according to CHSAA’s numbers, they have one of the easier schedules in the state.
When Aspen has faced a Front Range team this year, it hasn’t batted an eyelash, however. AHS handled Golden (14-4), Air Academy (14-10) and Arapahoe (15-10), but of those, only Air Academy is projected to make the playoffs.
Now, it will be about backing that perfect record up in the postseason.
“We try to expect the unexpected, but I feel like we are confident and ready to take on anything,” Greene said. “We are feeling good this year; really high energy. I feel like we have a really good family dynamic. Everyone is ready to support each other and we are super excited about it.”
According to MaxPreps, Aspen has only made the state’s second round, or Round of 16 in its current format, twice. The first time was in 2016 under coach Jessica Owings, who led No. 15 seed Aspen to an 11-10 win over No. 18 Pine Creek in the first round before a 19-3 loss to No. 2 Mullen in the second round.
The second time came last spring, when rookie coach Trendell led AHS to a 12-4 mark and undefeated league record, the season ending when No. 13 seed Aspen lost 15-7 to No. 4 Regis Jesuit in the second round. The Skiers beat No. 20 Air Academy in the first round, 11-10.
This year could be different. For one, Aspen’s RPI, which is used to determine seeding, continues to remain in the state’s top five. This means the Skiers are set up to have the highest seed they’ve ever had, which comes with a first-round bye and a favorable second-round matchup that will be played in Aspen.
“I feel like there is a little pressure, just from other teams looking at our ranking,” Howie said. “(Playing at home) will be really helpful, and a bye in the first round will be really nice. We can have a week of practice and get our skills fine-tuned and get everything we need for the playoffs.”
Whoever Aspen faces in its playoff game next weekend will present the team with more opportunity at history. The Skiers have never made the state quarterfinals in girls lacrosse, and this could be a golden opportunity to finally make that happen.
A perfect regular season was one for the record books. But this is a team that has redefined what is possible for the program and seems to have its heart set on much more.
“This year they are confident,” Trendell said. “I told them, ‘I’m really proud. Celebrate today, celebrate tomorrow. But come Monday we are 0-0 and 15-0 doesn’t matter. It doesn’t not matter, but it’s a bigger thing to go to the quarterfinals.’”
ASPEN BOYS LACROSSE STREAKING HOT ENTERING POSTSEASON
From preseason top five to on the playoff bubble, it hasn’t been an easy journey for the Aspen High School boys lacrosse team this spring. But winners in six of their past seven games, the Skiers are finally starting to find their form.
“We are a brotherhood now,” first-year coach Tommy Cox said. “We are feeling good. We obviously have things we need to work on, as does any other team, but at this point it’s really nice to be able to see the growth from the beginning of the season to the end.”
Aspen wrapped up its regular season Saturday with an 18-5 senior day win over Telluride on the AHS turf. The Skiers finish 10-5 overall and 7-3 in league play and now await the playoff bracket, expected out no later than Monday.
On Aspen’s side is a relatively strong RPI, aided in part by a challenging schedule. The Skiers were No. 7 in Class 4A as of Saturday night, which could mean a possible home playoff game for them in the first round. Unlike the girls, no team gets a first-round bye in boys lacrosse.
The Skiers, who won the 2015 state championship, made the state semifinals last spring. Of note, that 2015 team was led by coach Michael Goerne, who died in a February avalanche alongside Owen Green, who also coached lacrosse.
Prior to the boys game Saturday, the school unveiled a new banner on the press box that included both men’s initials as a way to honor and remember their fallen friends.
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