Aspen’s comeback bid comes up short |

Aspen’s comeback bid comes up short

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” The Aspen lacrosse team was hoping for a repeat of March 13. But this time around, the Skiers’ spirited comeback attempt came up short.

Aspen overcame an 8-3 deficit the last time it played Grand Valley, rallying for the 13-12 road victory. Tuesday, the Skiers trailed by as many as four goals but pulled to within one in the closing minute. Their final possession yielded high drama but no shot on goal, and they fell, 10-9.

“I thought we would get it for sure,” Aspen junior Cody Horn said. “We have it in our nature to come back and win. … We dominated that second half.”

Especially the final 6 minutes, 49 seconds. After Grand Valley’s Willie Steens flicked a wrister over his left shoulder and into the net with nine minutes remaining to stretch the lead to four, it looked as if the Skiers’ opportunity had vanished. They mounted one last charge, however.

Horn shook free on the far post, received a pass and went low for the score at the 6:49 mark. Little more than a minute later, Mike Aresty hit Bo Writer in stride on a run up the middle, and Writer fired a shot past Grand Valley keeper Trevor Moss.

After Taylor Watkins found the net for a third time to give Grand Valley the three-goal edge with 2:41 to play, Aspen’s Nicky Fuller answered one minute later when he fell down in front of the net but still managed to slip a shot past Moss.

Writer ignited the home sideline when, with 42.9 seconds remaining, he outran the Grand Valley defense, cradled a pass from Horn and scored, trimming the deficit to 10-9.

Skiers midfielder Nicky Ufkes came away with the ball on the all-important ensuing face-off and bounded into Grand Valley’s zone. After multiple passes produced no open looks or broken coverages, Aspen head coach Mike Goerne called a timeout with 23 seconds to play.

Once the whistle blew, the Skiers pushed the ball behind the net but could not find a seem. They passed back out to the right where two Grand Valley defenders converged on an Aspen player, jarring the ball loose.

The ball rolled harmlessly toward the far sideline as time expired.

“We picked up our level of play in the second half. We fought hard for ground balls and were a little more aggressive on defense. … We didn’t let them get comfortable holding the ball,” Goerne said. “We just spotted them a few too many in the first half. … We needed to turn that engine on a little sooner.”

Aresty broke a scoreless tie just 1:05 into the game on an acrobatic move up the left side. From there, the Skiers went cold. Aspen, playing for the first time in nearly two weeks, went scoreless for the next 27 minutes.

Grand Valley didn’t. It strung together five straight goals in the first half to take a commanding halftime lead. Ben Fox highlighted the run when, after a teammate fired a shot on goal, he cleverly shoveled the rebound into the net with 7:48 to play in the second quarter, stretching the lead to 3-1.

“We had long periods where we needed to get some goals but didn’t,” Horn said. “The frustration piled up for sure.”

The Skiers found their stride in the second half, but it was too late to pull out the win. They’ll look to rebound Thursday when they travel to Eagle Valley. They host Glenwood Springs at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

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