Aspen girls soccer rolls by Basalt behind four goals from Francis
The magic finally returned for the Aspen High School girls soccer team over the weekend in a dramatic come-from-behind win over Vail Mountain. It seems the Skiers were able to hold onto that feeling when it headed downvalley to face rival Basalt, a 5-0 win on Thursday afternoon.
“For this whole season we’ve been a second-half team, and I think we have stepped it up and we wanted to play our game today and I think we did,” AHS senior Clara Maxwell said. “We had a lot of expectations but now I think we are just trying to play a good game of soccer and have fun with it.”
Led by sophomore standout Kelley Francis, the short-handed Skiers kept the momentum moving forward. Francis had four of the five goals and sophomore Zulieka Hanson was stellar in net for an Aspen team that has now won four straight games, all coming since spring break.
Basalt had its chances, but the ball continued to bounce in the Skiers’ favor.
“At the end they were tired, cold, and unfortunately sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t,” Basalt coach Kate McBride said. “I was very proud of them because they stepped up and delivered what I asked of them. I asked greater communication, rotation in cover and challenge. And they delivered that.”
Despite giving up five goals, McBride said BHS goalie Natalie Simecek was the Longhorns’ player of the game. She was equally outstanding in net, but Aspen’s persistence on offense was a lot to overcome.
Both teams had their share of scoring opportunities early, but it wasn’t until a touch under 12 minutes to play in the first half that Francis found herself 1-on-1 and scored to make it 1-0. About four minutes later senior Emily Brenninger got her chance and scored to make it 2-0 at halftime.
“I was proud of them for pulling it together, channeling their injury, focusing on what was the task at hand, and to play soccer,” McBride said. “As I always say, soccer is like life and this was one of those occasions.”
Francis really controlled the second half. She scored about eight minutes in to make it 3-0, her easy goal making up for an easy tap in she missed on only a few minutes earlier. Francis then made it 4-0 with under 12 minutes to play after she bulldozed through a couple of BHS defenders and scored her fourth to make it 5-0 with about eight minutes to go.
“She is a rocket,” Maxwell said of Francis. “She is awesome. She always steps up to the plate and it’s really good.”
Basalt fell to 1-5 overall and 1-3 in league play with the loss. The Longhorns will next host Middle Park at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Aspen improved to 6-2 overall and 3-0 in league play. Ranked No. 5 in Class 3A this week by CHSAANow.com, the Skiers next travel to Moffat County on Saturday.
“We know we can get that far, it’s just a matter of stepping our foot forward,” Maxwell said of another deep playoff run. “Believing in each is really important. That was a problem in the beginning. We just had a lot of expectations, but now we are a team and we all love each other and with that momentum comes a great chemistry.”
Aspen boys lacrosse gets needed win over Summit
The Aspen High School boys lacrosse team came through with a 9-6 win over visiting Summit County Thursday on the AHS turf. The win came only two days after a 14-11 loss at Grand Junction and gave the Skiers their third win in four games. Now 4-3 overall, Aspen heads to Steamboat Springs on Saturday.
The AHS girls lacrosse team moved to 6-0 on the season after a 14-10 win at Air Academy on Wednesday. It was a rematch of a playoff game from a season ago, which Aspen also won. The AHS girls will host Summit Friday on the AHS turf.
Aspen baseball still winless after loss to Huskies on Thursday
The Aspen High School baseball team lost to Battle Mountain on Thursday, falling 13-3 at Crawford Field in El Jebel. The loss drops AHS to 0-8 on the season with a trip to Grand Valley coming up on Saturday.
Basalt baseball falls to Rifle
The Basalt High School baseball team lost a 10-0 contest at Rifle on Thursday to move to 0-5 on the season. The Longhorns were limited to only two hits. BHS will host Aspen on Tuesday in its home opener.
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