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Classical Academy stops AHS girls

Tim Mutrie
Aspen High junior Emily Hassall, left, cranks a shot against Classical Academy during a Class 3A regional playoff match Friday afternoon at the AHS field. Classical Academy won 1-0 on a goal at the end of the first half. Aspen Times photo/Jim Noelker.
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Emily Hassall lifted one scoring opportunity over the crossbar from close range.Taylor Buzbee actually hit the crossbar in the second half, and Katrina DeVore drifted one shot just wide of the net.

It was a match of missed opportunities for the Aspen High girls soccer team as Classical Academy – in their first-ever season as a varsity squad – edged the Skiers 1-0 in a Class 3A regional playoff Friday afternoon at the AHS field.Classical’s goal came on a direct kick in the waning moments of the first half, about the 39th minute, following an Aspen penalty just outside the right corner of the goalie box. Classical freshman Emily Keydeniers chipped a beauty of a shot that sailed across the box and caught the far left post and bounced in for a goal. Aspen junior goalie Carly Magill stood little chance to defend against it.Aspen controlled the pace of the match and outshot Classical by a margin of 4 to 1, it seemed. Thunder rumbled in the Maroon Creek Valley and rain fell in sheets during the first half, but Aspen couldn’t catch any lightening and come up with the equalizing goal. Aspen finishes its season at 7-8-1 overall, while Classical, 9-5-1 overall, of Colorado Springs, advances to the 16-team Class 3A state tournament.

“We went into the game knowing they had a good defensive record, but we had enough opportunities to get it done,” said Aspen coach John Gillies. “We just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net, and if you can’t do that, you can’t win soccer games.””I thought we controlled the game throughout, and we played really well apart from the fact that we just couldn’t put the ball in the net. Nobody wants to get knocked out, so they’re disappointed. But they should be proud of themselves, especially the seniors, like Maria [Peissis], who I thought was outstanding at fullback today.”

Goalie Kerri Zynen recorded the shutout for Classical.”These girls were very tough,” said Classical coach Mike Fox. “We capitalized on our one big play, and then we played some tough defense and were able to fight ’em off. Those Hassall girls [junior Emily and freshman Julia] were very difficult to contain, though.”Wrapped in blankets on the sideline, the entire Basalt High girls team was on hand to watch. But today, following the Aspen defeat and Denver Christian’s 4-0 win over Vail Mountain in Vail Saturday, the Lady Longhorns are the lone Class 3A Western Slope League team alive in the postseason. Basalt, 12-3 overall, earned a bye to the 16-team state bracket by winning the 3A WSL title.

Today, seedings will be announced for the state bracket and Basalt, which lost to eventual champion Denver Christian 1-0 in the semifinals last spring, is likely to get a top seed. Basalt will likely host a first-round tournament match early this week.Katie Staerkel, Basalt’s sophomore scoring leader, wandered over to the Aspen bench during the game to inquire about the score from the Vail Mountain-Denver Christian match, which started a few hours earlier. Basalt, you see, was rooting for the two other 3A WSL teams to win, in hopes that it might improve their standing at the seeding table. “So this is just about the only time we’ll ever be rooting for Aspen,” Staerkel said. “And Vail Mountain for that matter.”Tim Mutrie’s e-mail address is mutrie@aspentimes.com


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