Curley’s overtime goal gets Aspen girls soccer past Faith Christian, into Round 2
Was Payton Curley frustrated by the way the Aspen High School girls soccer team played most of the game?
Very. But she also was pretty happy with how it ended, a 1-0 overtime victory over Faith Christian on Wednesday in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament on the AHS turf.
“We were definitely not playing our best, but we came out in the end,” Curley said. “That was kind of a rough game. We were playing pretty slow, but it was good to come out in the end to win.”
Aspen, the tournament’s No. 13 seed, had every chance to build a lead early in the game against Faith Christian. But the Eagles, seeded No. 20, held serve through regulation until Curley scored the game winner for the Skiers less than three minutes into the first overtime period.
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Curley, a sophomore, had two looks on that possession. She scored on her own rebound when the ball bounced away from the Faith Christian goalie.
“Basically, some girl hit it and I ran into it, shot it, the goalie dropped it and I followed it in and hit it through the slot,” Curley said, describing her goal.
The Skiers dominated possession in the first half and again through much of the second, but never got the bounce they wanted. Their best chance to score came late in the first half on a corner kick from Chelsea Moore, when a shot hit the top of the crossbar and bounced straight down but never crossed into the goal.
“It was a tough game. Faith Christian is a great team. They don’t score many goals, but they don’t concede many,” AHS coach John Gillies said. “They play from the midfield and they are tight, and we had to sacrifice a forward and put in another midfielder just to try and compensate for that, which left us short up top.”
Faith Christian had a golden opportunity to score midway through the second half when Mikayla Grubbs got behind the AHS defense and had a virtual one-on-one with Aspen goalie Ella Trane, but she ended up kicking the ball straight into Trane’s hands to keep the game at zero.
With the loss, Faith Christian finished the season 6-10 overall.
Aspen’s season continues at least until Saturday, when the Skiers will travel to No. 4 seed The Academy (14-1) in Westminster. The Wildcats, who happen to be the defending state champions, had a first-round bye.
“He just basically said pick up the intensity. … He knew we were a better team than that,” Curley said of Gillies’ halftime talk. “We are really going to have to pull it together (against The Academy), because they are going to be a really great team.”
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