Aspen girls soccer tosses aside Englewood in first round of state playoffs
Kelley Francis scored goals like she does, the defense refused to even bend and the Aspen High School girls soccer team made easy work of visiting Englewood on Wednesday, winning 6-0 on the AHS turf in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament.
The game was played in a cold, consistent rain that included a bit of hail that was pushing snow in the second half.
“It wasn’t too bad once you started running. You kind of forget about it a little bit. The last half was a little cold,” AHS senior Reiss Rosier said of the weather. “It feels good to get this first win.”
With the No. 6 seed in the 32-team tournament, Aspen (12-2-1) played the part against No. 27 Englewood (9-7). Unlike a year ago when the 13-seeded Skiers needed overtime to beat No. 20 Faith Christian in the first round, Wednesday’s game with the Pirates was dominated by AHS from the start.
It took Francis, the team’s sophomore scoring machine, only nine minutes to make it 1-0. Aspen took a 2-0 lead into the locker room after Francis got her second with four minutes to play in the half, although the score could have easily been more in Aspen’s favor had it capitalized on all its opportunities.
The Skiers finished more of those chances in the second half. Senior Clara Maxwell headed in a goal off a corner kick to make it 3-0 not even 10 minutes into the second half and about five minutes later junior Maeve McGuire scored to make it 4-0.
Francis scored her third goal off a restart to make it 5-0 with 16 minutes to play, and sophomore Eva McDonough got the sixth and final goal about four minutes later.
“We are finally starting to work together as a team. Everything is starting to click,” Rosier said. “We definitely wore them out. We worked well, passed a lot and took a lot of shots. I think we all just did really well.”
It was a good bounce-back game for Aspen, which played to a surprising 2-2 draw with Basalt in the regular-season finale Friday. That tie had snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Skiers.
However, it may have also served as a needed reminder for a team that made the state semifinals a year ago and is hungering to get back there.
“It definitely impacted us a little bit,” Rosier said. “It was kind of a wake-up call. It got us into game mode and to get ready for playoffs. We started focusing more and I think we saw the results today.”
Aspen will host either No. 11 SkyView Academy or No. 22 The Vanguard School in the second round on Saturday. SkyView and Vanguard play Thursday afternoon.
BASALT GIRLS SOCCER LOSES TO SALIDA IN FIRST ROUND
The Basalt High School girls soccer team saw its season end Wednesday in a 7-2 loss at Salida in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs. The No. 4 seed, the Spartans (13-2-1) advance to face No. 13 Prospect Ridge Academy in the second round.
The Longhorns finish their first season under coach Kate McBride with a 4-10-2 overall record. Season highlights included a sweep of rival Roaring Fork and a stunning tie against then-No. 4 Aspen in the Skiers’ regular-season finale.
Roaring Fork, the tournament’s No. 19 seed, knocked off No. 14 DSST: Stapleton in the first round on Wednesday, winning 3-1. The Rams will face No. 3 Jefferson Academy, the defending state champion, in the second round.
The winner of that game could possibly face off against No. 6 Aspen in the quarterfinals. AHS lost to Jefferson Academy in the state semifinals last year.
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The Colorado High School Activities Association named Kayla Tehrani the Class 3A girls swimmer of the year for this past season. She was a key piece — if not the key piece — in the Skiers finishing second in 3A to state champion Evergreen.