Aspen High girls soccer heads to Lutheran Wednesday for quarterfinals
Who: No. 13 Aspen at No. 5 Lutheran
What: Class 3A state quarterfinals
When: 5 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Parker (near Denver)
The Aspen High School girls soccer team was no stranger to the second round of the state tournament. Anything beyond that had been a complete mystery, although that will change Wednesday when the Skiers take on Lutheran in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.
To get to this point, No. 13-seeded Aspen had to upset No. 4 seed The Academy in Lafayette on Saturday, arguably the biggest win for the program in nearly two decades.
“We’ve always made it to the second round, but we’ve never made it past it, so this year was really exciting,” AHS senior Maddy Bergdahl said. “I was just sitting on the bench in overtime crying because I was nervous and when we finally won I just started crying even more. I was just so excited to finally make it.”
According to AHS coach John Gillies, the last time the girls program advanced this far into the playoffs was in the early 2000s, where it ironically lost to Lutheran in the quarters. Only the current upperclassmen had even been born when that happened.
Lutheran (13-2 overall), which is located in Parker, just southeast of Denver, is the tournament’s No. 5 seed. The Lions two losses came April 5 at Jefferson Academy (4-1), the tournament’s No. 1 seed, and April 19 at home against Colorado Academy (3-0), the tournament’s No. 2 seed.
Lutheran and Aspen have played two mutual opponents this season. Both teams played Coal Ridge, Aspen losing 3-2 in overtime and Lutheran winning 2-1. The other mutual opponent was Faith Christian, Lutheran winning 7-1 early in the season.
Aspen beat Faith Christian 1-0 last week in the first round of the state tournament before knocking off The Academy a few days later. Both games went to overtime.
“They are running on such a great feeling as a unit, they seriously think they can beat anyone,” Gillies said.
Much like Aspen, Lutheran frequently makes the second round of the state tournament only to have the season end there and is currently enjoying one of its best seasons in recent memory.
Wednesday’s quarterfinal game is scheduled for 5 p.m. in Parker. The winner will play either No. 1 Jefferson Academy or No. 9 Colorado Springs Christian in Saturday’s semifinal game. The state championship game is scheduled for Tuesday.
“As a team we are really coming together and we have confidence and that is really what’s pushing us,” Bergdahl said.
Despite being a big star, Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen has frequently connected with the young AVSC athletes while training at Aspen Highlands over the years.