Back to draw-ing board
ASPEN The Aspen and Roaring Fork soccer teams battled for 90 minutes Thursday in a game that featured close calls, solid defense and ultimately little resolution. Despite generating multiple scoring chances and controlling the ball for the majority of the game, Aspen could get just one shot past 6-foot-7 Rams goalkeeper Torrey Udall. Roaring Fork added the equalizer late in the first half, and the two teams walked away with a 1-1 tie after the second half and two five-minute overtimes produced drama – but little else.”It’s tough to dominate for 90 minutes and come away with a tie,” Aspen coach Junior Sutherland said. “The commitment was there, the concentration was there, but we’ve got to find that finishing touch.”
Aspen’s adept passing yielded a score in the 26th minute. Logan Tierney positioned himself near the far post on an indirect kick from Kelly Selby near the right sideline. Selby’s lob sailed over Udall’s outstretched fingertips, and Tierney headed the ball into the net. It was the lone shot that sailed out of Udall’s reach.”Sometimes he looks like he’s 10 feet tall out there,” Roaring Fork coach John Ackerman said.Udall used every inch of his frame to rise up in traffic to corral multiple loose balls and made two pressure-packed saves in the first overtime. On the first, Alex Hernandez rose up to head a kick into the box and launched the ball backwards; an alert Udall went high for the save. With one minute remaining, Aspen midfielder Wiley Maple found a crease and fired a shot to the bottom left corner. Udall managed to get one glove on the ball and knock it out of bounds.
“I almost got one – I’ve had a lot of almosts this season,” Maple said. “[Udall] takes up space and catches everything.”We were playing good, passing it around and getting all those chances. We’re really missing Stephen [Buzbee] right now.”The Skiers (2-2-1 overall, 1-0-1 3A Western Slope) have scored just two goals in two conference games this season.
Roaring Fork, whose roster includes 11 freshman and sophomores and just four upperclassmen, showed some resiliency in its first game of the season. Sophomore Anthony Flores squared the game with 4 minutes, 34 seconds left in the first when he controlled a deflection, then beat Aspen goalkeeper Alex Owen from close range. “We had a great game, we played hard, and we didn’t let down,” Ackerman said. The mood was decidedly different on the other sideline as the Skiers couldn’t help but think they let one slip away. They’ll have more than a week to think about it; Aspen next hosts Paonia at 11 a.m. on Sept. 15.”I hate ties,” Maple said. “It’s almost worse than losing.”
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.