Aspen High girls soccer rallies from two down to beat Montrose in home opener
It’s the same old early-season story for the Aspen High School girls soccer team.
Saturday in their home opener against Montrose, the Skiers had numerous key players missing for a myriad of reasons. There was the school play, international aid workers returning from the field, volleyball tournaments and, of course, the competitive skiers still chasing championship glory.
This would have been a problem had the young players, many coming straight from the junior varsity team, not stepped up in a big way like they did.
“We are missing some of our back line,” AHS senior Chelsea Moore said. “We are missing some of our best players at the moment, but the freshmen are really strong this year and we have a lot of team spirit, so I think we are really great this year.”
Led by those reserves, the Skiers rallied Saturday for a 5-3 win over Montrose on the AHS turf. Aspen had opened the season March 10 at Grand Junction, a 4-1 loss in which it only had 21 combined players for both the varsity and junior varsity games. Moore, a Nordic skier, was among those missing in the opener as she was competing at Junior Nationals in Utah.
Aspen took an early 1-0 lead on Montrose after a goal by Kelley Francis, but the tide quickly turned and AHS found itself down two goals in the first half.
“To go one up was great. It was a perfect start,” AHS coach John Gillies said. “We were passing; we were comfortable. Then all of a sudden they got back into it. We panicked a little bit. We lost our shape. Next thing we know we are 3-1 down.”
The Skiers rallied to tie the game 3-3 by halftime with a goal from Payton Curley and a second from Francis. Maeve McGuire scored the game-winner in the second half via a penalty kick, and Emily Brenniger iced the game with a late goal to reach the 5-3 final score.
“The performance we put on today was great,” Gillies said. “The girls showed great spirit to come back, and maturity for a young team.”
Aspen (1-1) is off until Tuesday when it hosts Roaring Fork. The Skiers then play at Vail Mountain on Thursday before entering spring break.
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Basalt went 11-5 in the shortened regular season and finished a mere fourth in the Class 3A Western Slope League behind Moffat County, Gunnison and Delta. Then the Longhorns were the No. 21 seed in regional play that only includes 24 teams, but still shook up the bracket with a pair of big upsets.