Glenwood girls ramble past Aspen 8-2 |

Glenwood girls ramble past Aspen 8-2

Aspen's Devon McClosky mixes it up with Glenwood Springs High School's Sarah Cunningham during the first half of action at Aspen Middle School on April 9, 2002. Jacob n. Ware photo.

In the opening minute of play Tuesday in Aspen, Glenwood Springs’ Cassie Carlson lofted a towering volley into the Aspen zone from more than 40 yards out.

Aspen goalie Merritt Gates backpedaled to defend the lob, which descended on an arc bound for the net, but she couldn’t recover in time, and the ball skipped in for a score. Like the goal, the match was simply out of reach for the Aspen High girls soccer team as the Demons took a 3-1 halftime lead en route to a convincing 8-2 victory.

“They’re a very well-organized team,” conceded Grant “Junior” Sutherland, who coaches the Aspen team along with Jon Gillies. “The movement is fantastic. They were all over us; our young girls didn’t know what hit ’em. All the credit to them.”

Aspen tied the game at 1-1 on a corner kick in the eighth minute. Aspen senior Lacee Patterson sent the ball through the penalty box, where younger sister Lindsay, a sophomore, gathered it and chipped it back into the box. A soft touch from sophomore Alex Bethel escaped the mitts of Glenwood Springs sophomore goalie Keegan Nadon, and Aspen was on the board.

Glenwood responded in the 21st minute, converting on a breakout play from the Aspen zone. Senior Becca Lundin took a pass from Heather Hert along the wing and beat Gates, a sophomore, on a low shot to the far post. Carlson assisted on Glenwood’s third goal of the half, in the 28th minute, hitting senior Sarah Cunningham streaking down the center of the field. Cunningham tapped in the breakaway score.

In the second half, Glenwood added five more goals: junior Chelsea Strautman, unassisted; Brieanne Rippy, assisted by Carlson; junior Shannon Smiley, assisted by junior Amy Ackerman; Strautman, assisted by Ackerman; and then Ackerman, unassisted. Aspen’s Patterson cut the deficit to 7-2 in the 57th minute, beating Glenwood Springs senior Kelci Barnes, who took over for Nadon in the second half, on a chip shot from the top of the goalie box.

“The first half Aspen came out strong. I knew we’d have some wing play to defend, and they demonstrated that well in the first half,” said Glenwood coach Steve White. “But after we got a couple more goals, they faded.”

Aspen dropped to 2-2 on the season, while Glenwood improved to 6-1. At 4-0 in Class 4A Western Slope League play, Glenwood sits atop the standings ahead of Steamboat Springs and Rifle, which are tied for No. 2 at 2-1-1 in league.

“Last year we had the passing, but we couldn’t shoot,” White said of the 2001 campaign that ended in the first round of the state playoffs. “Now, the shooting’s coming along.”

Last Friday, Glenwood topped Steamboat 2-0, while Steamboat and Rifle tied in their only match this season.

“We came into the season with high expectations,” White said. “We feel it’s us and Steamboat going for first place in our league, and after the playoff disappointment last year, we feel we can take it another step. We’re looking to win the league and get into the playoffs on the right foot.”

Incidentally, the one team that beat Glenwood this season, Grand Junction Central, fell to Aspen 3-1 in Aspen’s opening game of the season March 16.

Aspen remains at 1-1 in Class 3A Western Slope League play.

“It’s a learning experience for our girls,” Aspen’s Sutherland said after the loss to Glenwood. “Hopefully we can take something from this and bounce back. I’m sure they can.”

On Thursday, Aspen travels to Carbondale to face Roaring Fork High School at 4 p.m.

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