Preps: Roaring Fork girls soccer stops Aspen |

Preps: Roaring Fork girls soccer stops Aspen

Aspen's Sarah Chiles advances the ball up the field against Durango in a game last weekend in windy, blustery conditions in Grand Junction. The Skiers swept two games over two days against the Demons.
Carmen Dowley/Special to The Aspen Times |

The Roaring Fork High School girls soccer team enjoys life on the edge.


The Rams traveled to Aspen on Wednesday afternoon to play their second consecutive one-goal, pressure-filled game.

Emily Fisher’s long-range goal in the first half was the difference in Roaring Fork’s 1-0 win over the host Skiers.

The Rams (2-0-0) had opened the season one day earlier with an identical pressure-filled 1-0 win over Basalt.

The nonconference match Wednesday started with end-to-end action and a series of long counterattacks.

Aspen’s Logan MacNamee and Shannon Waititi helped press the action into the Roaring Fork zone early in the contest. MacNamee’s long sprint up the center of the field set up the Skiers for a corner kick in the 24th minute of the 40-minute opening half.

Linzhi Douglass of the Skiers delivered a shot off the corner.

But Roaring Fork goalkeeper Maddie Nieslanik made the big save.

At the other end, the Rams worked the ball wide right at midfield.

Fisher, from 30 yards out, blasted a line-drive kick that angled up toward Pyramid Peak, lifting up and over Aspen keeper Jessica Coxon.

The ball clanged high off the back post and ricocheted across the goal and into the back of the net.

“She’s got a good shot,” Roaring Fork head coach Heather Fox said of Fisher’s conversion from distance. “She played stopper the last two years. We’re trying to move her up the field.”

Fox said the Rams are still working things out in only their second match of the young season.

“We’re trying to anticipate how to play and where to go,” Fisher said, crediting the team for playing hard through the second half in spite of fatigue.

She also credited a defense that denied 11 Aspen shots, including eight when the Skiers attacked in the first half.

“We’ve got our senior, Toni (Gross) back there. She is a solid defender,” Fox said. “She is so composed back there. She marks people up. She gets us organized.

“And we have sure hands in goal,” Fox said of Nieslanik, the all-state catcher from last fall’s girls softball team.

The Roaring Fork senior made a diving save of a shot from Aspen’s Douglass.

She added another diving save off a shot from Waititi.

Aspen’s Anita Dimento nearly tied the score right before halftime with a shot, turned back by Nieslanik.

In the second half, the Aspen attack forced an opportunity to tie the match with 20:20 to play when Mackenzie Langley fired a shot after a passing combination of Julia Ely and Arley Gordon.

But fatigue, too, hit the Skiers, who lost a 6-0 road game at Coal Ridge on Tuesday afternoon.

“In the second half, we got tired,” Aspen coach John Gillies said. “We were just kicking the ball ahead again.”

He said the Skiers have struggled with practice time in a compact spring season that includes spring break next week and experiential education (ex-ed) two weeks after that.

Practice sessions, between the three games a week, are usually held in the gym because the outdoor turf field is in use by other sports.

“We get very little practice time … but that’s why I took the girls job because of the challenges,” Gillies said. “And the good thing is these games are nonconference. These are things we can look at and turn around for the important games.”

The Skiers (2-2-0) will not play their next game until April 1.

“Part of it is the time of year,” Gillies said. “What’s going through their heads right now is beaches in Mexico … it’s spring break.”

Roaring Fork, meanwhile, will play its third consecutive game in three days today when the Rams host Rangely.

“This game gives me a good idea of things we need to work on,” the Roaring Fork coach said. “I’m very pleased with the team … we’re headed in the right direction.

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