Boys soccer: Skiers scare No. 1 Kent Denver

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

The Skiers, wearing their regular costumes, put a major Halloween scare into the top-ranked Class 3A soccer team.

The Aspen High School boys soccer team, the No. 32-seed in the 32-team Class 3A state playoffs, stunned and frightened No. 1 Kent Denver in the first round of the playoffs, taking a 0-0 tie deep into the game played at Kent’s home field.

The host Sun Devils, who had lost but one match in two seasons, finally broke the scoreless tie with 11 minutes remaining Friday.

A second goal finished a 2-0 win for Kent Denver that left the Sun Devils squirming and frustrated and the Skiers simply overjoyed.

“This game was a true reflection of what this team is capable of,” Aspen head coach Dave Francis said after the Skiers’ frustrating season closed with their best peformance of the season.

“It was, by far, the best game these boys have played,” he said, adding that the pressure was building on the host Sun Devils, who struggled against the No. 32 Skiers.

But the Skiers did not play like a 32 seed, Francis said.

“And we had some chances,” Francis said of Aspen’s offensive opportunities at Kent Denver.

“We had a plan. Our boys stuck to it, and they worked really hard,” the Aspen head coach said.

Kent Denver’s go-ahead goal came from Rory Buck.

Max Gorresfeld added the second score late as the Sun Devils advanced to the second round of the playoffs against Sheridan, the No. 17 seed and a 3-2 winner over No. 16 seed Basalt on Friday.

Francis said the frustration of the regular-season finale, a 1-0 loss to Palisade, was wiped away by the Skiers’ play against No. 1 Kent.

“The boys didn’t feel like they lost that game. They played well; they executed; they were well-organized.”

The result was a memorable match against the top team in Class 3A.

“This was a very, very strange season,” Francis said of a year marked by schedule adjustments (ex ed) and injuries.

“To have this chance, and to go out and do what they did is rewarding,” Francis said. “They played fantastic.”

Aspen, after a 4-4-0 league season, concluded the year 6-9-1 overall with a second consecutive appearance in the state playoffs.

Basalt head coach Brett Hayes, who watched Aspen’s narrow loss at Kent, said the Skiers did a great job representing the Western Slope League.

“Aspen put a helluva scare into Kent (on Friday),” Hayes said. “Aspen held up their end of the deal (in representing the conference).”


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