Gents of Aspen cook Blue Goose
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. ” The Gentleman of Aspen opened their 2008 summer rugby season Saturday in familiar fashion ” rolling past Breckenridge’s Blue Goose, 43-19, at Kingdom Park.
No one on the Goose’s sideline was happy following the defeat, but at least team members could take solace from the fact that one of their toughest opponents was in the rearview mirror.
“It’s tough to play this caliber of team straight off the bat, but I think it’s a good thing,” Goose veteran John Terrill said when asked what it was like to begin the season against a team Breckenridge struggles with year after year. “If you hit yourself against the wall first, you see how far you bounce back and what you need to do.”
Aspen, which was comprised of roughly half veterans and half newcomers, was focused on fundamen-tals, according to its player/coach Fred Waititi.
“We work on a lot of basic stuff to make sure we do it well,” Waititi said. ” To me, it doesn’t matter how many tries we score, it’s our performance that matters ” that we do the simple things right.”
Simplicity led to execution early on as the visitors tallied a try, conversion and penalty kick within the first five minutes of the match.
The Goose got on the score board late in the first half when Eric Landauer pushed through a try to make it 29-5 at halftime.
Breck’s John Waddick and Buck Goroski both added tries after intermission.
Goroski joined the Goose in 1997 and doesn’t recall ever beating Aspen in regular-match play. Breck did, however, get a victory against Aspen at last summer’s Cow Pie Tournament in Steamboat.
Still, the Breck side will have to make some adjustments if it hopes to repeat the feat later this summer at the same tournament.
“We need to work on tackling and some defensive skills,” said team leader Zack Zellars, who missed most of last summer with a broken ankle, “to make sure we’re in the right spot at the right time.”
Missed tackles were a key factor in Satuday’s match, according to Goose coach Peter Clarke.
“They gave up too many soft tries where Aspen’s man ran clean through on the outside,” Clarke said. “That’s what really blew the score out.”
Clarke also spoke to what he, and several of his players, saw as another one of the contest’s determining factors.
“[Aspen] came without any props,” he explained. “So we played uncontested scrummaging. It was a huge advantage to them because they had back-row forwards playing in scrums and we had props, and back-row forwards are way more mobile.”
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The Aspen High School girls soccer team looks a lot different from the last time it played, with many new players and a new coaching staff. But winning has become part of the culture, and it’s so far, so good for the Skiers this spring.