Aspen High girls soccer escapes CRMS, moves to 3-0 on the young season

Aspen High School girls soccer players celebrate with junior Samantha Edelman after she scored what would be the winning goal against CRMS on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, on the AHS turf.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

Samantha Edelman was the recipient of a fortunate bounce following the shot of one of her teammates and she took the opportunity to knock in the lone goal to give the Aspen High School girls soccer team a 1-0 win over visiting Colorado Rocky Mountain School on Tuesday evening on the AHS turf.

The game had been scoreless past the midway point of the second half before Edelman’s tap in with just shy of 18 minutes to play broke the deadlock.

“There was a bit of a ricochet, and she was in the right place at the right time,” AHS coach Chris Ellis said. “It was a very close one. I thought CRMS defended really well. At every opportunity they closed our players down and didn’t give them a lot of options. It almost became a game of attrition as it wore on. But pleasingly enough, the girls stuck to the task and we started to change the strategy a little bit and get more numbers up front, to give them even more to think about. And it paid off.”

It was already the third game of the spring season for the Skiers, who moved to 3-0 overall. Aspen opened played on Friday with a 5-1 win over Telluride and followed that with a 2-1 win over Crested Butte on Saturday, both at home.

Aspen is ranked No. 7 in Class 3A in this week’s poll, up a spot from the preseason rankings.

“The girls have done really well,” Ellis said of the season so far. “There are some talented individuals coming up. There are a couple of sophomores who are doing really well. Pleasing to see. And we have a freshman who is playing really well and continues to play well.”

Ellis has needed the underclassmen to step up early on this season as injuries have already slowed things down. Among the veterans currently sidelined are junior Abby Romero and senior Jenny Ellis, the coach’s daughter, although he hopes neither are out too long.

This is Ellis’ third season as the team’s head coach. His first came in 2020, although he did not coach a game that spring after the season was ultimately canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last spring, in a truncated season, the Skiers finished 7-4-1 overall and beat No. 2 seed Manitou Springs as a mere 15 seed in the first round of the state playoffs before losing to No. 10 Colorado Academy in the second round. Colorado Academy lost to No. 1 Kent Denver in the championship game.

Telluride was the state runner-up in Class 2A, having beaten Crested Butte in the semifinals last spring. Telluride is ranked No. 5 and Crested Butte No. 6 in Class 2A this week, while CRMS was receiving a single vote to be ranked in 2A.

Gallery caption: Photos: Aspen girls soccer vs CRMS

Aspen is tentatively scheduled to open league play at home on March 24 against Moffat County. That’ll be the Skiers’ last game before going on spring break; they’ll hit the road for the first time on April 7 with a trip to Coal Ridge.

“It’s always the collective,” Chris Ellis said of what he hopes to be the team’s strength this season. “It’s always trying to find players and their strengths and putting them in positions and locations where they are going to be best suited for the strengths they have. When you can get people in places that are appropriate, then the collective becomes stronger than the individual.”

The Basalt High School girls soccer team is 2-0 after wins over Crested Butte (3-1) and Telluride (3-2) over the weekend.

Also Tuesday, the AHS girls lacrosse team opened its season with a 17-3 win over Durango in Grand Junction. The AHS boys lacrosse team is 1-1 after a 10-6 road win over Grand Junction and an 11-10 overtime loss at Steamboat Springs. The AHS boys are scheduled to host Battle Mountain on Wednesday evening in their home opener.

AHS to hold championship celebration on Wednesday

Aspen High School will hold a celebration on Wednesday afternoon in downtown Aspen to recognize its championship teams from the school year so far, a list that includes boys basketball, boys golf and dance. Also being honored will be the all-state choir and band.

AHS plans to release students at 2 p.m., where members from the championship teams will walk past the elementary and middle schools in front of their cheering classmates. They will then load the bus near the middle school and ride it into town via Main St. and Hunter St. The city is making banners to line Hunter St.

The main festivities will take place at Gondola Plaza at the base of Aspen Mountain. AHS Principal Sarah Strassburger will give the opening remarks around 2:25 p.m., followed by comments from Aspen School District Superintendent David Baugh and Mayor Torre.

The choir and band will perform, and then the championship teams will be honored. The coach of each team is planning to talk.

It’s expected the celebration will conclude just after 3 p.m.

AHS Athletic Director John Castrese wrote in a post to the teams that they are “creating a new Aspen tradition” of honoring the championship teams in this way.