Aspen girls lax tops Pine Creek in playoffs
The Aspen Times
Aspen High school sophomore Caroline Moriarty has a sense of timing, a sense of seniority and a sense of history.
Moriarty scored the game-winning goal with 4 seconds to play Wednesday as the Aspen girls lacrosse team stunned Pine Creek 11-10 in a state playoff game with more drama that daytime television.
The visiting Eagles had just tied the game for the eighth time at 10-10 with 1:22 to play in the first-round game at Aspen School District Stadium, spoiling a 10-9 Aspen lead from Mackenzie Miller’s fifth goal of the game.
As time ticked down, the Skiers collected a steal. Jane Marolt advanced the ball with a long run, and Moriarty forced a penalty call close to the Pine Creek goal.
“I was really doing it for the seniors and the girls on the sidelines. We couldn’t have done this without all of them,” Moriarty said after her goal sent the Aspen girls lacrosse team into the second round of the 4A/5A playoffs and into history. “We wanted to be the first Mountain League team to make it to the second round.”
Mission accomplished on home turf at Aspen School District Stadium.
Moriarty had scored a pair of Aspen goals in the first half, which ended in a 5-4 Aspen lead.
Miller, a junior, scored four consecutive goals for the Skiers — goals No. 7, 8, 9 and 10 as the Skiers continually came back after falling behind the Eagles, who had lost only twice all season.
“Really, it was just being in the moment,” Miller said. “It was getting those passes from my teammates and seeing the back of the net … always seeing the back of the net.”
Miller scored back-to-back goals for the Skiers after they had fallen behind 9-7 with just over 3 minutes to play.
She said the Skiers refused to get discouraged in the back-and-forth game.
Brooke Pisano and Julia Boronski, a pair of seniors, also scored in the historic Aspen victory, played in front of a large crowd at Aspen School District Stadium under mostly sunny skies with seasonal temperatures.
Air Academy collected five goals from freshman Britt White.
Riley Hatchell and Kate Hatchell scored two goals each for the Kadets (13-3).
Britt Carr also scored for the Eagles from the Colorado Springs area.
“I was so impressed with these girls,” Aspen head coach Jessica Owings said. “ … so much hard work all season.”
She said the emotional playoff victory is a tribute to everyone in the program.
“Everyone who has played lacrosse at Aspen High School this year has contributed to this success,” she said, adding that the Skiers improved significantly from their previous 16-3 loss at Pine Creek earlier this season in a nonleague road game.
“We told the girls that this would the hardest game of lacrosse they would play and that we are going to head into that second round,” Owings said.
That means Mullen.
The Aspen girls (11-5) will advance to play No. 2 overall seed Mullen (12-3) at 6 p.m. Friday at Mullen High School.
In other first-round games in the girls state lacrosse playoffs, Battle Mountain lost 21-5 to Dakota Ridge.
Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Aspen’s John Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him. He eventually finished runner-up in the iconic race.
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