Aspen girls lacrosse season ends with quarterfinal loss to Valor; soccer falls to Jefferson Academy
Maybe the Aspen High School girls lacrosse team wasn’t quite ready to win a state championship, but it did more than enough this spring to prove the opportunity might exist down the line.
The historic season ended Wednesday when No. 4 Aspen, playing in the state quarterfinals for the first time in its 10-year history, lost 12-7 to No. 5 Valor Christian on the AHS turf. The loss is the first and only of the season for the Skiers, who finish with a 16-1 overall record, a program best.
“Do we walk away not having the result we wanted? Of course. Every coach and every player on this team wanted to win and go all the way,” second-year AHS coach Amanda Trendell said. “But at the end of the day, I told these seniors, ‘You opened up a door that wasn’t there before.’”
While girls lacrosse is still coming into its own at Valor Christian, it’s still a larger school — they compete in Class 5A in many sports, compared to 3A for AHS — with resources a team like Aspen doesn’t have. Maybe not quite David vs. Goliath, the Eagles represented an opponent the Skiers probably wouldn’t have been able to hang with only a couple seasons ago.
Valor Christian looked every bit the superior team early in Wednesday’s game, quickly jumping out to a 3-0 lead before AHS junior Charlotte Howie scored about five minutes into the contest. Down 4-1, the Skiers answered with back-to-back goals — another by Howie and one from senior Sabrina Turbidy — to make it 4-3 approaching the midway point of the first half.
But the Eagles closed strong and led 6-3 at the halftime break.
Aspen never let the game get out of hand, pulling back within two goals only a minute into the second half, but could never completely close that gap. Howie scored her fifth and final goal to make it 12-7 with about seven minutes to go, but neither team would score from there on out.
The win sends Valor Christian (14-3) to the state semifinals where it will face No. 1 seed Colorado Academy on Saturday. Colorado Academy beat No. 9 Fairview on Wednesday, 18-4. In the other quarterfinal games, No. 2 Cherry Creek beat No. 7 Denver East, 12-7, and No. 6 Regis Jesuit beat No. 3 Pine Creek, 18-11.
While Aspen now says goodbye to its season and a strong senior class, it does believe the future is bright. The Skiers should have plenty of firepower back next year, including Howie, Kylie Kenny and Hayley Heinecken, among others.
“We know what we need to work on and it’s going to make us really hungry for next year,” Trendell said. “The biggest thing is again putting in the work in the offseason. When we want to hang with these teams like Valor who have resources, we have to put in work outside of lacrosse. It’s hitting the weight room; it’s getting faster, getting stronger. At the end of the day it comes down to confidence, which is built in those places.”
Aspen girls soccer loses 5-0 to Jefferson Academy in state quarterfinals
The season came to an end for the Aspen High School girls soccer team on Wednesday with a 5-0 loss at Jefferson Academy in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.
The Jaguars scored only seconds into the game, one that was marred by numerous penalties, including a red card that forced the Skiers to play a man down in the second half.
“The first 20 seconds they scored. It took us another 20 minutes to kind of get in our groove. At the end of the first half we were OK — 1-nil down. We still felt very confident,” AHS coach John Gillies said. “By the end of it, it wasn’t a fight.”
Aspen played without a couple of key players because of injury and couldn’t overcome being a man down in the second half, where the Skiers were outscored 4-0. Gillies said the red card “changed the game completely.”
It was a rematch of last year’s state semifinal game, which Jefferson Academy won, 1-0, before beating Kent Denver for the 3A state title.
The Jaguars (16-1-1), seeded No. 3 this spring, move onto Saturday’s semifinal against No. 2 Kent Denver in a rematch of that 2018 championship game. Jefferson’s only loss this season came in April to Kent Denver. Kent beat No. 7 Peak to Peak, 2-0, in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
The other semifinal on Saturday will be No. 1 Colorado Academy against No. 13 Prospect Ridge, which held off No. 21 Vail Mountain on Wednesday, 5-4.
Aspen, seeded No. 6, finishes the season 13-3-1 overall.
aspen, basalt Baseball seasons officially come to an end
The regional brackets for Class 3A baseball were announced Wednesday and as expected neither Aspen nor Basalt will find itself in the postseason.
University earned the top seed, followed by Eaton, Sterling, Peak to Peak and Delta.
The Skiers finished the season 2-20 overall, while Basalt wrapped up with a 6-13 overall record.
This means the only sports still going this spring for either team are track and girls golf. The state track and field meet gets underway Thursday and goes through Saturday in Lakewood, while the AHS girls golf team has three players competing Monday and Tuesday at state in Vail.
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