Revenge is sweet for Aspen girls |

Revenge is sweet for Aspen girls

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

ASPEN Aspen Seniors Julia Hassall and Maggie Melberg both said they are looking forward to moving on – to finishing high school and heading off to college.They’ll bring with them one more positive memory after Tuesday’s regular-season finale against Rangely. The duo combined for three of their team’s four first-half goals in what proved to be their final high school game, and a laid-back Skiers squad held on for the 4-1 victory.With its 2-0 victory over Roaring Fork on Tuesday, Coal Ridge clinched the 3A Western Slope’s second and final playoff spot, narrowly edging out Aspen in the standings. Basalt locked up its 11th consecutive league crown last week.

“It’s always sad this time of year, if this is our last game, to see exceptional girls leave,” Aspen coach John Gillies said. “You have to make sure they have a day to remember.”With their playoff fate hanging in the balance, the Skiers were seemingly resigned to their fate as they squared off with the Panthers, a team that crushed Aspen’s playoff hopes with a late-season one-goal win in 2007.”It was fun not being in a serious game like we have been,” said Hassall, who will play soccer next year at Northwood University in Florida.”It was definitely a more laid-back end to the season,” Melberg said. A fast start helped fuel those sentiments. It took the Skiers (7-4-1 overall, 6-3-1 conference) just 90 seconds to score the game’s first goal. Brittany Marrs dribbled up the left side and lofted a cross into the box to Lizzy Eastley, who tapped the ball into the net.

Melberg followed Marrs’ lead in the eighth minute, firing a sharp pass to Hassall, who, despite being slowed by a tailbone injury, acrobatically stuck out her foot and knocked the ball past Rangely goalkeeper Hillary Hayes.Melberg, who is headed to Middlebury College in Vermont, scored her team’s third goal in 12 minutes when she blocked out a defender, turned, fired and connected from 25 yards out.”We definitely got a little revenge,” she said.A defensive breakdown led to a Rangely score in the 32nd minute, but the Skiers answered right back. Melberg led Hassall with a perfect pass up the right side; Hassall calmly flicked the ball past a charging Hayes for her 15th goal of the season. By the second half, Skiers were swapping positions and attempting to set up scoring opportunities for seniors Grace Seigle and Steffi Klawiter. Seigle shared a few laughs with teammates after she peppered the net with multiple shots from close range – one rattled the post – but came away empty-handed.

“It was nice to take that lead so that we could have a bit of fun,” Gillies said. “It was the perfect matchup to be playing the team that knocked us out [last season].”Two weeks ago, Aspen looked to have a firm grasp on the league’s second playoff spot. But, in the wake of three straight losses to Basalt and Coal Ridge, it will once again have to settle for third place. The Skiers and Titans both finished with six league wins, but Coal Ridge, by virtue of its two ties to Aspen’s one, are moving on.After Tuesday’s finale, Hassall said she’s content.”We’re all upset that we didn’t make it, but some of us are relieved,” she added. “The sad thing is this was the last time I get to play with my teammates – we really bonded. … It’s definitely good to end on a good note.”

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