Offensive-minded Aspen blanks Vail Christian
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” The Skiers girls soccer team’s offense provided some much-needed heat on a frigid afternoon at Aspen High School.
On a day when temperatures dipped into the teens and bitter gusts left many players huddled under blankets and oversized jackets on the sidelines, the Skiers’ scoring attack soared against 3A Western Slope newcomer Vail Christian. Aspen connected four times during the first half and, on the strength of a hat trick from junior Kate Moyer, cruised to a 7-0 victory over the Saints.
So much for a 10-day Spring Break layoff slowing down high-powered Aspen, which improved to 5-0-1.
“After the layoff, I was awfully frightened. … We usually come back and play sluggish,” Skiers head coach John Gillies said. “I think the first five minutes were pretty sloppy ” we let them come at us. Once we realized the game had started, we started to settle down.”
And find the net.
Aspen junior Amanda Zalk broke a scoreless tie in the 13th minute when she chased down an errant pass near the net, turned and flipped a shot over the outstretched gloves of Vail Christian goalkeeper Dakota Francis.
Four minutes later, Brittany Marrs pushed the ball up the right side before dumping it off to Ruthie Prikyl for a shot from just outside the box. The ball sailed a few feet past the far post but Moyer, who crashed the net, was able to track it down and knock it in.
“I’m usually more of the assist type,” Moyer joked afterward. “I just wanted to shoot more today.”
The plan worked. Little more than four minutes after her first strike, Moyer lined up a direct kick from just outside the box after Marrs was tackled from behind. Moyer lofted a slicing ball toward the far post that clipped the top right corner of the net, stretching the lead to three.
She found the net in the 76th minute when she converted on a run up the left side.
Five different Skiers scored goals.
“They move off the ball really well and are good at passing to feet,” said Saints coach Barbara Wilson, who was missing many of her juniors and seniors for almost three weeks because of Spring Break and mission trips. “We were trying to figure out how to mark up defensively. … When you first touch the ball, this is a hard place to come play.”
Olivia Davis extended the lead to 4-0 seven minutes before halftime when she controlled a pass from Ruthie Prikyl and fired a strong shot past a diving Francis.
Davis’ bid for another score in the second half rattled off the crossbar with 16 minutes to play. It was one of the Skiers’ rare misses during a half in which they routinely crowded the Saints’ zone and padded their lead with three more goals. Hayley Rinaldi picked off an attempted clear in the 43rd minute and beat Francis one-on-one.
Senior Marissa Lindahl capped a strong performance with less than two minutes remaining when she scored from 10 yards out.
“We definitely have more challenges ahead,” Moyer said, “but it was nice to get back and get a win.”
The Skiers travel to Rangely on Friday, then host Vail Mountain School at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Aspen and the Gore Rangers played to a scoreless tie March 17.
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The third weekend of play begins Thursday and runs through Sunday with the Bantam B, Squirt A and Squirt B divisions. Because of safety protocols, spectators aren’t allowed.