AHS girls lacrosse shuts down Durango, nears undefeated league season
Between cake celebrating freshman Haley Heinecken’s 15th birthday on Friday and the postgame dance show, the Aspen High School girls lacrosse team backed up its commitment to being as close as kin.
“In the beginning of the season, we kept bringing up the aspect of family,” AHS senior co-captain Mackenzie Miller said. “Girls really started believing that we are working as a family. We always work as a unit, because we are a team. I think that really brought to life this team and we all trust each other so much on and off the field.”
This unity has helped the Skiers thrive late this season, including Friday’s 15-0 throttling of visiting Durango at the AHS athletic field, their fourth consecutive win. More than simply keeping morale high, the win all but locks up another league title for Aspen.
Miller led the team with five goals against Durango (3-8 overall, 1-4 league), including an impressive behind the back shot to start the second half. AHS led 10-0 at the midway point of the game and the teams played the entire second half with a running clock.
While not the final home game, Friday’s contest was considered senior night for the Skiers, where Miller, Juliette Woodrow and Maggie McGuire all were recognized.
“It’s always hard to let seniors go, and this is a particularly great group,” AHS coach Jessica Owings said.
Aspen improved to 7-4 overall and 6-0 in league play after the win. The Skiers only have one league game remaining, a Wednesday showdown at Eagle Valley (4-5, 1-3). The only team mathematically still around to compete with AHS is Grand Junction (10-1, 5-1), although Aspen holds the head to head advantage after beating the Tigers 11-8 on Wednesday in Grand Junction.
“That was huge. It was really a wonderful effort. The energy was huge, on and off the field,” Owings said of Wednesday’s victory. “We need to be 7-0 to be league champions. I think we are very near our goal and are really excited.”
The Skiers also have three non-league games to go, including today’s 11 a.m. home matchup with Denver East (9-2 overall). While it will have no impact on their league title, the game with Denver East could have numerous postseason implications. The Angels entered the week ranked No. 4 in the state and as of 5:15 p.m. Friday had the top-ranked RPI.
The teams played early in the 2016 season, Aspen losing 15-4 in Denver. Friday’s rematch in Aspen will be the final home game of the regular season for the Skiers.
“It has a huge potential to prepare us for the playoffs,” Owings said. “That will be a great opportunity for the girls to have a really big challenge, and we are excited for it. We are excited they are coming here.”
Aspen also has road games at Chaparral (April 28) and Cheyenne Moutnain (April 29) to finish out the season.
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