Aspen soccer finishes on high note
CARBONDALE – Aspen’s Wiley Maple made his final high school soccer game one to remember.The senior scored two goals – his first two in four years – and nearly added a third late in the second half Tuesday against Colorado Rocky Mountain School. The Skiers rolled to win their final game 4-1.”That last one definitely went in, from my angle,” Maple joked of his bid for the hat trick. “It was fun out there.”
Maple put the Skiers (8-6-1 overall, 7-4-1 3A Western Slope) in front in the 15th minute. Aspen, which was without starting goalkeeper Alex Owen (illness) and sweeper Cody Baker (injury), pushed the ball deep in the CRMS zone as junior Murphy Fyrwald dribbled down the right side. Fyrwald passed on a open shot on CRMS keeper Ross Mohsenin, opting instead to pass off to Maple charging down the middle for the finish. “I’ve given him plenty of balls like that, and he’s whiffed on them,” Maple said. “He owed me.”Maple positioned himself perfectly for a goal in the 52nd minute. Teammate Giovanni Negroni sidestepped a defender in the box and fired a powerful shot; Mohsenin deflected but was out of position when Maple tracked down the loose ball and found an open net, stretching the lead to 4-0.
The career day nearly included a hat trick. Seconds before the final whistle, Maple launched a shot past Mohsenin that looked destined to find the net; a CRMS defender alertly headed the ball out inches from the goal line. “We finished strong,” Aspen coach Dave Francis said. “We did the hard work in the middle [of the gamee] today.” In between Maple’s scores, The Skiers extended their advantage with goals from Robbie Franklin and Greg Ross. Franklin took a pass on an odd-man rush deep in CRMS’s zone in the 38th minute, paused and fired to an open bottom left corner. “The kids take a while to get warmed up to physical play,” CRMS coach Dan Pittz said. “We usually come out strong, but Aspen plays such a physical game, it takes a little while to get used to.”
CRMS, which last beat Aspen on Oct. 2, 2005, pushed across its lone goal with 13 minutes to play. Kirti Math controlled a throw-in and beat freshman keeper Tyler Nelson, who was making his varsity debut. CRMS could pull no closer than three against the Skiers, who outscored the Oysters, 8-1, in two games this year. While its tumultuous season will not result in a state appearance, Aspen can take solace in the fact that only Basalt and Vail Mountain School beat the Skiers in conference play this season. Aspen, which locked up third place in the league Tuesday, finished with three wins in its final four games.
“Unfortunately, we played Vail and Basalt in the middle [of the season]. If the fixtures were different, we could’ve gone into the last few games still contending,” Aspen coach Dave Francis said. “We had a good season and played some great soccer, but we were a little naive in some games, and it got away from us.””In the beginning of the year, I didn’t think we’d do well, but we came together,” Maple said. “I thought we had more potential to go far. It would’ve been sweet to win state, but now it’s ski season.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Prior to starting his trek across U.S., Larkins had never run more than a marathon and had never been to Colorado