Aspen girls roll in soccer opener | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen girls roll in soccer opener

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. The Aspen girls soccer team had just two outdoor practices before Saturday’s season opener, but Julia Hassall and the Skiers looked like they were in mid-season form. The senior forward scored four goals, Haley Rinaldi added four assists, and Aspen cruised to the 6-0 win over Rangely in Grand Junction. “I’m excited about the squad this year,” Skiers coach John Gillies said Monday. “There’s not a weak link in it. As long as we get to work well together, we’re looking to press Basalt hopefully.”Aspen jumped out to an early lead five minutes into the first half and continually pressed the Rangely net. While goalkeeper Lindsey Anderson had just two touches in the first half, the Skiers’ front line connected for four goals in the first 40 minutes. That momentum waned in the early stages of the second half.”When you go into halftime up 4-0, it’s hard to keep that up,” Gillies said. “For the first 20 minutes [of the second], it turned into Billy Smart’s Circus. It was a comedy of errors. We managed to get away with it.”The Skiers regrouped and began to string passes together on offense, producing two goals in the final 20 minutes to pad their lead. Sophomore forwards Austin Owen and Abbey Cook each scored goals for Aspen, which was missing a group of key contributors who either were competing in a hockey tournament or performing in the school’s production of “Guys and Dolls.””We were still a strong team,” Gillies said. “There wasn’t a weakness at any position. … I hope it can continue.” The Skiers girls were slated to square off with Basalt on Saturday. But, with the bulk of their team headed to Fort Collins to chase a 3A state basketball title, the Longhorns were forced to reschedule.No matter. Aspen picked up a 3A Western Slope win over the Panthers, who beat the Skiers, 2-1, in last year’s regular-season finale. That loss cost Aspen a playoff berth.”It would’ve been nice to play Basalt and take the points away, but, in all honesty, the girls want to beat Basalt when Basalt is at full strength,” Gillies said. “… I think the girls are up for the challenge and are focused this year.”jmaletz@aspentimes.com

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