Grandview boys edge Aspen in lax thriller
The Aspen Times
The Grandview Wolves expected a scenic road trip to Aspen on Friday for a boys lacrosse showdown.
They also anticipated a lacrosse roller-coaster ride.
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The Grandview High School boys lacrosse team fell behind Aspen by five goals Friday night before scoring nine consecutive goals of their own en route to a 13-12 victory over the homestanding Skiers at chilly Aspen School District Stadium.
The Class 5A Wolves, who made the Aurora school’s first trip ever to Aspen, had to hold off a furious rally by the Skiers late in the fourth quarter. The Skiers scored four goals in the final 3 minutes to close a 13-8 deficit to 13-12.
And the Skiers had one last ticket for the roller coaster with one final possession with 9.2 seconds to play only to be denied a final shot.
“That was a great lacrosse game; it was an intense game,” Aspen head coach Mike Goerne said. “Definitely, the momentum swing very fast, very quickly.”
The Skiers grabbed it first when Burke Daily scored Aspen’s first goal only to be followed by John Heaphey’s 360-spin, shot and goal.
Aspen’s Tyler Tick scored the first of his four goals, Harry Ferguson potted a goal off a pass from Jonathan Wells and the Skiers led Grandview 4-0 in the opening quarter.
Grandview’s Josh Melton put the Wolves on the board late in the first quarter. But they were held scoreless by the Aspen defense in the second period as the Skiers expanded the halftime lead to 5-1 on Heaphey’s second goal of the game.
Ryan Fitzgerald and Ferguson scored as the third quarter opened with Aspen leading 7-2.
“Penalties really hurt us,” Goerne said as the Skiers trooped to the penalty box. “We suffered a lot with some penalties. They had a great man-up offense.”
Riding their power play, the Wolves scored nine consecutive goals over the rest of the third quarter and the first 6 minutes of the fourth quarter.
A stunned Aspen home crowd watched as a 7-2 advantage turned into an inconvenient deficit of 7-11.
“The third quarter was the quarter for either team,” Goerne said.
But despite falling behind 13-8, Goerne’s Skiers scrambled in the closing minutes.
Tick scored twice in 30 seconds, including a transition goal on a perfect pass from Ferguson.
Wells ripped home a shot from the left side with 2:09 on the clock, sending the home crowd back into a frenzy as the Skiers cut Grandview’s lead to 13-11.
After Grandview’s Keaton Carney made a goal-saving defensive play, Aspen regained possession and Heaphey passed to Tick for a goal — 13-12 with 14.1 seconds to play.
But no more.
“I thought we had it at the end. We definitely didn’t back down,” Goerne said. “We hustled; we played hard.”
He said the game against the 5A Wolves will help the Class 4A Skiers as they prepare for the heart of the season.
“We’re stepping up to the big opponents. I really appreciate them (Wolves) coming all the way up into the mountains to play us,” Goerne said. “This game will help us.”
Tick led the Aspen scorers with four goals.
Ferguson and Heaphey had two goals each.
Trey Robinson, Fitzgerald, Daily and Wells also scored for Aspen (4-2 overall).
Grandview was led by four goals from Ryland Clay, three from Cooper Snowbarger and two from Matthew Sciba.
Adam Trujillo and Jack Devereaux also scored as the Wolves, who have made a habit of coming from behind, improved to 7-2 on the season.
Grandview coach Patrick Chapla said he had to remind his players to relax and enjoy their surroundings after they fell behind 5-1.
“I told the boys to look around and see the beautiful place we are in and realize we have the privilege of playing a great Aspen team in this place,” Chapla said. “I wanted them to enjoy the opportunity.”
And for the Wolves, that means fun, he said.
“When they remember that they are having fun and that when they play together like that … we can beat anybody,” Chapla said. “Once they release that tension of thinking ‘I have to be too good,’ they are awesome.”
He said the trip to Aspen produced a valuable game for the Wolves.
“This is absolutely the kind of game that will help us,” he said, describing the Skiers as “5A talent.”
They trip also had double value, he said. A large contingent of Grandview parents also made the trek for Friday’s game in Aspen.
“As far as the trip, we haven’t traveled for a long while,” he said of the Grandview boys lacrosse team. “We wanted to get in a smaller trip this year and then go to California or Florida next year.”
The Aspen boys lacrosse team is back in action today with a game against Telluride in Grand Junction.
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