League title in sight for AHS girls lax after blowout of Battle Mountain
The path to the postseason got a little clearer Friday for the Aspen High School girls lacrosse team.
Facing Battle Mountain at the AHS athletic field, the Skiers rolled to a 14-2 victory to keep their perfect league record intact. The score was somewhat surprising considering the Huskies defeated Aspen 9-7 on March 15 in a non-league game in Edwards.
“We knew, even in that first game, that we could come out here if we were all together. It’s just all about the day and I think today was our day,” AHS junior Jane Marolt said. “The first draw and then to goal, we all celebrated a lot and I think we had a lot of energy coming into it.”
Marolt, who rarely lacks energy according to AHS coach Jessica Owings, took the opening draw of the game and made it 1-0 only 75 seconds later. Barely four minutes in and it was already 3-0, Battle Mountain’s only first-half goal coming soon after to make it 3-1.
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That goal proved to be more anomaly than game changer, as the Skiers responded with goal after goal and led 8-1 with 12 minutes still remaining in the first half.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to our girls,” Owings said. “They really executed everything we’ve been working on. On defense, in the midfield, really great motion offense I thought today. We saw a lot of movement.”
This offense did stall somewhat late in the first half. AHS led 9-1 at the break thanks to a late goal from senior Mackenzie Miller, but that came after nearly 10 minutes of neither team scoring. The dysfunction led to flashbacks of that first game against the Huskies, in which AHS led comfortably at halftime only to eventually lose.
The halftime talk Friday had a lot to do with finishing.
“We kind of had to get our heads back in it and we started the second half like we started the game,” Marolt said. “Today we were all here and all of our heads were here and I think we just came all out.”
Miller made it 10-1 less than three minutes into the second half, and Battle Mountain never threatened. A goal by freshman Charlotte Howie only a few seconds after Miller’s made it 11-1 and the final 22 minutes were played with a running clock.
Battle Mountain’s second and final goal came with less than four minutes to play, only to have Howie counter it with her third goal in the closing seconds.
Miller led AHS with four goals. In all, eight different players scored for the Skiers. Of their 14 goals, 10 were assisted.
“That speaks a lot to the teamwork and the looks they are taking on attack,” Owings said. “They did what was expected of them and definitely what they wanted to accomplish.”
Battle Mountain, now 4-3, finished runner-up to the Skiers in the league last season. With the win, Aspen improved to 5-4 overall and 4-0 in league play, putting them in a strong position to repeat as league champs. Standing in its way is an undefeated Grand Junction team, which hosts AHS on Wednesday in a game that could likely decide the league title.
The league champion earns an automatic trip to the state tournament.
While Aspen is off until that game, Grand Junction will play at Durango today. The Skiers still will face Durango (Friday) and Eagle Valley (April 26) in league play after Wednesday’s showdown with the Tigers.
“Wednesday at Grand Junction is a big one for us right now. That’s our next big goal in mind and we are really excited for it,” Owings said. “We still have two conference games after our game with Grand Junction and of course we don’t want to take any opponent for granted.”
The Skiers also have three non-league games remaining against Denver East (April 22, final home game), Chaparral (April 28) and Cheyenne Mountain (April 29, final regular-season game).
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