Skiers continue streak
Now that his team is in the driver’s seat for the 3A Western Slope crown, Aspen boys soccer coach Junior Sutherland has no plans of taking his foot off the gas.Following its defining win against downvalley rival Basalt Saturday, the Skiers cruised past visiting Colorado Rocky Mountain School on Tuesday night under the lights, 6-0. Six different Skiers scored, including starting goalie Andy Conarroe, who netted a penalty kick in the final minutes after Aspen forward Stephen Buzbee was fouled in the goal box.”Basalt was such a tough game, and sometimes with the next game you get caught looking,” Sutherland said. “I just told the guys before the game to be up for this game as much as anyone else, and they did that.”Senior Matt Butler netted Aspen’s first goal less than 10 minutes into the match when he headed a nice crossing pass from Buzbee in front of the CRMS net. Sophomore Baker Boyd added Aspen’s second in the 19th minute with a blast past CRMS keeper Ross Mohsenin that angled into the top left corner of the net. Thirty seconds later, Buzbee chased down a free ball in front of the net after Tyler Moore lost possession and tapped it past Mohsenin. Aspen’s fourth goal couldn’t have been drawn up any better. Boyd slipped a pass between two defenders to a streaking Butler on the right flank, who quickly crossed to Moore in front of the net for the finish.
“They’re not rushing it as much anymore,” Sutherland said. “They’re starting to take their time and pick their spots. It’s what we’ve been asking them to do all season long. Instead of constantly going forward, play the ball back and have a little patience in the game. They’re slowing the game down and playing to their speed.”At the start of the second half, senior Nicky Anastas ended what was a frantic couple of seconds in front of the CRMS net when he knocked in a shot after the ball had been touched by three different Aspen players as well as two CRMS players. Buzbee was credited with the assist.Aspen had a number of other good scoring chances throughout the final 40 minutes, with a number of shots going wide or high, including a blast from Boyd that flew directly into the crossbar.Sutherland said Conarroe had been bugging him all season for the opportunity to take a penalty kick, so when Buzbee was fouled in the box, the coach gave the keeper his wish.”It was kind of like a joke,” Conarroe said. “Last year when I was playing in the field, I was one on the team who took PKs. … The opportunity presented itself, so he let me take it and I stepped up.”Following the loss, CRMS coach Dan Pittz told his team that it could learn a lot from league-leading Aspen (8-1 overall, 7-0 in 3A Western Slope).”I think we were able to put together a really good second half,” Pittz said. “We were actually talking about how a couple of their players are just great players to watch. [Anastas] is a great player away from the ball. He passes the ball off, then runs to get open. He’s a really great creator. We can learn from that. We can just learn from the whole team. They’re really solid.”
Aspen travels to Vail Mountain School for another huge test at 11 a.m. Saturday. VMS was the only team other than Basalt to beat Aspen last year in league play.As has been the motto all year, the Skiers continue to take one game at a time.”We definitely had to come out strong today,” Conarroe said. “You always have a letdown after a big game, so definitely to get this win it was big time. It was fun today.”Basalt struggles to tie at VMSThe hangover wasn’t gone for the Longhorns. Three days after losing to Aspen for the first time in five years, Basalt couldn’t push past Vail Mountain School on Tuesday in Vail, settling for a 1-1 tie after two overtime periods.”We controlled the game, totally controlled it,” Basalt coach John McDermott told the Vail Daily. “It’s our finishing on this surface. We’re not used to it.”
McDermott also pointed out that Basalt had a few starters out because of illness.”They are playing really well, it’s just that finishing touch we need to work on,” he said. “[VMS looks] good on this field, they know how to play. It was a good game, we just never capitalized.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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American giant slalom stud Ted Ligety won six times at Birds of Prey, be it five World Cups and/or gold in the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, but we have to remember what a struggle it was for him to get there.