Eagle Valley edges Aspen girls
Aspen Times Staff Writer
After staking a 3-2 lead at halftime, “flat-footed” play in the second half led to the Aspen High girls soccer team’s first loss of the season, 4-3, at Eagle Valley Thursday.
“We need to be alert and on our toes at all times. You think the game’s over at halftime, but you’ve got to play 80 minutes and be focused the whole way through,” said Grant “Junior” Sutherland, who coaches Aspen along with Jon Gillies.
Aspen dropped to 2-1 on the season, 1-1 in Class 3A Western Slope League play.
Aspen sophomores Lindsay Patterson and Taylor Norton and junior Meredith Moore, twined goals in the first half as Aspen posted the 3-2 lead while playing against the wind.
“I think the girls thought it’d be easier with the winds at our backs in the second, and we let down and Eagle came back,” Sutherland said. “But Eagle Valley’s a decent team, they’re strong and they’ve got some speed. They play some nice football.”
Senior Lacee Patterson, who chalked up five goals in Aspen’s 8-0 rout of Olathe on Tuesday, “had a fantastic first half,” Sutherland said. “She worked her butt off, but she just ran out of steam in the second half.”
In the second, Eagle Valley shut out Aspen while adding the tying goal, on a breakdown in the AHS backfield, and the game winner off a corner kick. Nevertheless, Sutherland credited Aspen sophomore goalie Merrit Gates for playing solid between the pipes for Aspen.
In the final five minutes, “we started playing again,” Sutherland said, “and we hit a post and a bar, and the [Eagle Valley] goalie had two great saves, but it was too little, too late.”
Three games into the season, Aspen has yet to practice outside on grass as the snow continues to melt. Sutherland hopes the team can get outside on the AHS field Saturday before facing Glenwood Springs on Tuesday to work on match fitness, set pieces and ball handling.
“It makes it harder on them when it comes to a game situation – that’s the only time we’ve been on grass. But hopefully we’ll rebound,” he said.
The venue for Tuesday’s game against Glenwood Springs will be decided next week, based on weather and field conditions.
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