Aspen hangs on against VMS |

Aspen hangs on against VMS

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – In an attempt to bolster its offensive attack, Aspen moved midfielder Will Bloemsma to forward for Saturday’s game against visiting Vail Mountain School.

The junior found the net twice, The Skiers scored three goals and withstood a late Gore Rangers push to hang on for a 3-2 win.

The victory came two days after Aspen dropped a heartbreaker to visiting Roaring Fork in overtime. The Rams were the beneficiaries of a keeper violation on Skiers junior Jessis Andrade, scored the tying goal in the final minute of the second half, then sealed the win four minutes into the first overtime.

“That was a tough loss, but I think we bounced back strong,” Bloemsma said. “It was good [to play up front]. I got a lot more opportunities.”

Aspen (2-3 overall, 1-1 conference) put the frustrations of Thursday’s result behind them early Saturday. Freshman Martin Monzon broke out in a sprint to chase down a pass in the second minute, split two defenders and beat VMS keeper Nick Vossler.

“That was a fluke,” Gore Rangers head coach Slade Cogswell said. “That’s why you’ve got to come out strong right away. … You have to play the first few minutes full steam.”

The VMS deficit increased in the 24th minute, when Bloemsma finally got the ball and some space in which to maneuver. He blocked out a defender on a one-on-one up the left side and fired from a sharp angle’ the ball bounded off the right post and past the goal line.

The Gore Rangers, who opened 3A Western Slope play this week with road losses at Basalt and CRMS, wasted little time responding. No more than 10 seconds later, John Landreth caught the Skiers defense off guard. The senior found a crease just outside the box and ripped a shot into the top left corner of the net that sailed a few feet past Andrade’s outstretched gloves.

Bloemsma stretched the lead to two once more when, in the 35th minute, he shook free, charged directly at the goal and launched a grounder that clipped the left post.

The Gore Rangers were undaunted. They pulled to within one once more when, after Andrade made an acrobatic save near the crossbar, VMS junior Austin Cerny pounced on the loose ball and got off a shot in traffic.

Momentum had shifted.

“We allowed them to play. We really did,” Aspen head coach John Gillies said. “If we chopped their ankles a little more … it would’ve been good. We backed off.”

It nearly cost the Skiers. As lightning struck in the distance, VMS sophomore Josh Rosenbach nearly struck for a game-tying goal in stoppage time. His shot from close range drilled the crossbar, however, and the ball sailed out of play.

The final whistle blew a few minutes later.

“Man, that’s tough,” Cogswell said of the missed opportunity. “It was quite a soccer game. … Both sides came to play. I told the kids it doesn’t feel like we lost, we just ran out of time.”

VMS visits Roaring Fork on Tuesday. Aspen hosts CRMS, a surprising winner Saturday against Basalt, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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