High school briefs: Aspen spikers can’t finish
Fast starts faded into forgettable finishes Saturday for Aspen’s volleyball team at its season-opening tournament at the Skier Dome.The Skiers opened with impressive first-game wins against 4A Eagle Valley and 3A Western Slope foe Vail Mountain School, only to lose both matches with back-to-back losses in games two and three. The Skiers surprised the Devils with a 26-24 win to begin the tournament before the Devils rallied back with two straight wins (25-12, 25-22). Against VMS, Aspen made the same mistake, gaining the advantage with an opening 25-19 win, before surrendering its momentum to lose twice (25-10 and 25-22). “We start off very strong, playing very well, but then we just lose the momentum in the second game and can’t get it back,” said first-year head coach Jen Schrock. “I don’t think it’s a fitness thing at all, just a mental thing … To be honest, I think we kind of got lazy. They weren’t playing their game and doing the things they can do to put the ball away.”Against 2A Hayden, Aspen broke its trend of fast starts, losing the first game, 19-25, before pulling out a 26-24 win in the second. The Skiers again couldn’t close in the third, however, falling, 25-19. Schrock said her team’s best match was against Eagle Valley, but an unlikely upset was negated by too many mental mistakes.”We did have a lot of serving errors and net errors,” she said. “Just random mistakes in the net. There’s lot of little layers we can fix.”Junior Kylie Westerlind was Aspen’s kill leader in all three matches Saturday. Schrock also praised junior defensive specialist Olivia Davis for coming up with some tough digs in the back row.”I feel that this could be a rebuilding year,” Schrock said. “There’s a lot of juniors this year, and by the end of the season we should be really strong.”Aspen next plays Friday at West Grand, a 2A school located in Kremmling.
The Aspen soccer team picked up right where it left off. The Skiers, who went 11-1 in the 3A Western Slope in 2006 en route to a conference title, opened conference play Tuesday with Coal Ridge. A goal in the 50th minute from freshman Will Bloemsma proved to be all Aspen needed to pull out the 1-0 victory.”This is a great way to start the season,” Skiers coach Junior Sutherland said. “We had two tough games [in Montrose], then we get our first win for the conference. We can build from there.”We could’ve had more [goals], but a win is a win. This was an important one.”The Skiers (2-2 overall, 1-0 3A Western Slope) gave As Cortez and Montrose scares Friday and Saturday in two tight losses before topping 3A Telluride. The momentum carried into Tuesday.Ten minutes into the second half, junior Murphy Fyrwald fired a shot that ricocheted off Titans goalkeeper Skyler James. Bloemsma controlled the deflection and scored what proved to be the game-winner.Aspen, which scored 14 goals in two wins against the Titans last season, dominated for much of the game on both sides, Sutherland said. They couldn’t manage to slip multiple scoring chances past the 6-foot-2 James, however. Instead, they leaned on their defense to preserve the shutout.”[Coal Ridge] definitely is aggressive and doesn’t sit back,” Sutherland said. “They never give up and definitely win a lot of games on that field.”Aspen hosts Roaring Fork in its season opener at 6 p.m. Thursday.
The Skiers girls cross-country team showed promise Saturday in Delta. The questions surrounding the boys team during the preseason went unanswered.While three girls finished in the top 25, junior Scott Lacy was the lone boys runner to finish in the top 50. He took 39th in the season’s first meet with a time of 20 minutes, 13 seconds.”It kind of went how I thought,” said Aspen coach Chris Keleher, who did not attend the meet. “We’re a young team learning the ropes of running at the varsity level. I think there were some surprises.”Senior Nathalie Obermeyer, who was sick and failed to qualify for state in 2006, started strong, finishing 10th in 21:23. Brittany Marrs was 16th, 37 seconds behind Obermeyer, and Lindsey Wilkinson took 25th. Brianna Morse (23:23), Annalise Grueter (25:09), Kate Moyer (26:34) and Gracie Nichols (26:34) finished 28th, 51st, 62nd and 63rd, respectively. On the boys side, Taylor Preusch (2-:55), Whit Parker (22:04) and J.D. Redmond (25:32) finished 52nd, 63rd and 80th, respectively. Jesse Hoffman, who is expected to compete for the varsity this fall, has been battling injury and did not compete.”There’s room for improvement on both sides,” Keleher said. “Heck, it’s an early-season race, and we have a young team who is just trying to figure it out.”
Now 40 years old, the downhill racer from Utah is still speeding along with no plans of slowing down anytime soon. Sure, his back sometimes aches but it’s not enough to deter him from chasing after the feeling of a perfect race.