Preps: Aspen girls lacrosse rallies to beat Battle Mountain in key top-five game
Down at halftime — a rare occurrence for the Aspen High School girls lacrosse team — the young Skiers rallied back on Wednesday for a key, early-season 8-6 win over Battle Mountain. Senior Kylie Kenny led that onslaught with three goals in the span of about four minutes for the home victory on the AHS turf.
“Kylie is obviously a very big leader on our team, and to have someone lead like that just raises everyone’s energy and we were able to play more as a team,” AHS junior Mia Seltzer said. “We got new people in who hadn’t been in, and I’m really proud of this team. We are a young team to begin with and we just beat our competition for the league. That’s a really great win for us. I’m happy for us.”
Aspen and Battle Mountain look like the class of the Western Slope this spring. The Skiers entered Wednesday’s game ranked No. 2 in Class 4A in this week’s CHSAANow.com poll, behind only Evergreen. Battle Mountain was No. 5, with No. 3 Denver South and No. 4 Golden filling in the middle.
The win over a top-five team is notable for the Skiers as many of their players were seeing varsity action for only the second time in their careers, after the 2020 season was canceled because of the pandemic.
“One thing I think we did really well was we just played scrappy,” AHS coach Amanda Trendell said. “We just hustled all around. Obviously our shots weren’t going the way we had planned. What we can’t execute on attack, we make up for in the midfield and on defense and just on hustle plays, and I think that really helped us carry this win through.”
Aspen trailed 4-3 at halftime against Battle Mountain, a rarity for the Skiers. Trendell’s guess in regard to the last time AHS trailed at half in a regular-season game went back to the 2018 season, her first as head coach, against Cheyenne Mountain, a game they eventually won, 13-12.
The Skiers haven’t lost a regular-season game since a few games before that, on April 14, 2018, against Pine Creek. AHS went a perfect 15-0 in the regular season in 2019.
“Being down at halftime just made us have to recollect ourselves and to think about the things we need to work on, calm down, and execute the game we know to play,” Seltzer said. “Because the game we know to play we executed in the second half and we saw our victory.”
Despite the inexperience, Aspen turned a one-goal deficit against the Huskies into a two-goal advantage. Kenny, a University of Denver lacrosse signee, led that charge. She tied the game at 5-5 with just under 14 minutes to play, gave AHS the lead at 6-5 with 11:45 to go, and then made it 7-5 barely 30 seconds later.
Battle Mountain got back within a goal at 7-6 with 10 minutes to play, but Seltzer found the back of the net less than a minute later and the Skiers were able to run out the clock from there.
Kenny finished with four goals and Seltzer with two. Georgia Hollander and Stella Sherlock also had a goal apiece.
“Big game. As I said to the girls, they are a tough team, they are a good team,” Trendell said. “Kylie is always a solid player. She is a team-first mentality type of player, which sometimes is great, but other times I’m just like, ‘Play your game.’ But again, we can always rely on Kylie, not only on the field, but off the field, just being an overall great leader.”
Photos: AHS girls lacrosse vs. Battle Mountain
It was the first loss of the season for Battle Mountain, which drops to 2-1. The Huskies rolled to wins over Steamboat Springs (18-3) and Summit (16-2) to start the season.
Aspen improved to 2-0, its only other contest so far this spring a season-opening win last week at Eagle Valley, 16-5. The Skiers are now off until Tuesday, when they face Roaring Fork.
Battle Mountain and Aspen will see each other again on June 8 in Edwards.
“We got to celebrate this win, but we still got to put in the work,” Seltzer said. “They are going to come hungry next time, no doubt about it. If we play like we did today and we make our shots, I have no doubt this team will make it.”
Basalt baseball beats Aspen in thriller
The Basalt High School baseball team came out on top Wednesday in a thrilling 9-7 contest against Aspen at Crawford Field in El Jebel.
The teams had originally planned to play a pair of seven-inning contests, but the doubleheader turned into a single, 11-inning affair that lasted more than four hours.
It was the first game of the season for the Longhorns (1-0), while Aspen fell to 0-3. The Skiers opened their season over the weekend with a pair of losses at Gunnison, 14-4 and 11-10.
AHS is scheduled to host a pair of games against Moffat County on Saturday, while Basalt will host Gunnison.
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The Aspen High School girls soccer team might have been flying under the radar when the playoffs started, but it likely has a massive target on its back now. Only three days after pulling off the biggest upset of the first round, the No. 15 seed Skiers will play at No. 10 Colorado Academy on Saturday.