Skiers slip past Gore Rangers |

Skiers slip past Gore Rangers

Aspen defender Haley Ortmann boxes out Vail Mountain School forward Harper Kaufmann from a loose ball in front of Skiers goalkeeper Lindsey Anderson on Tuesday afternoon at Aspen High School. Aspen defeated the Gore Rangers, 2-1. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

ASPEN In Saturday’s lopsided win over Olathe, Aspen goalkeeper Lindsey Anderson left the net in time to record both a goal and an assist in the second half. She was needed between the posts for the duration of Tuesday’s 2-1 victory against Vail Mountain School, however. The freshman keeper made a pair of diving saves down the stretch, and forward Shelby Burke scored twice – including the game winner late in the second half – as Aspen avoided going to overtime for a second time in its last three contests.

The Skiers (3-1 overall, 3-1 3A Western Slope) have won three straight after their season-opening loss to Basalt on March 13. “Shelby’s hungry for goals and is always fighting for position,” Aspen head coach John Gillies said. “She wants it more, and today it showed.”Burke scored three times Saturday in a match that ended 15 minutes early because of the 10-goal mercy rule. On Tuesday, she made the most of her precious few opportunities. The final – and most pivotal – came in the final five minutes of the second half of a tie game. Burke faded toward the front of the VMS net as teammate Julia Hassall lined up a shot from the left side. The ball deflected off Gore Rangers goalkeeper Della Elich; Burke was positioned perfectly to finish with a header.

She had a golden opportunity to extend the Skiers lead and all but seal the game two minutes later: After Maggie Melberg fired a shot that rang off the crossbar, the ball ricocheted right to her in the box. Burke reached out and touched the ball instead of letting it drop to her feet and was whistled for a hand ball.Hassall injured the top of her right foot in Thursday’s overtime win over Roaring Fork and was expected to sit out two weeks. She played Tuesday, however, and connected with Burke for the game’s opening goal 23 minutes into the first half. Hassall one-touched a ball out of midair and led Burke with a perfect pass down the right side. Burke outran the defender and fired a well-placed shot out of Elich’s reach.The lead lasted only 17 minutes. After a few poor passing exchanges in front of Anderson, the Gore Rangers’ Lani Bruntz controlled the ball, then passed back to teammate Kris Caples. Caples lofted a shot from 20 yards out that sailed over Anderson and under the crossbar for the equalizer.

“We played much more settled than I anticipated,” said VMS coach Bob Bandoni, whose team was playing its season opener. “We were fairly balanced and strung together some nice possessions through midfield.”We were finding seams in the defense, but their goalie was spectacular. She kept them in the game.”Strong possessions yielded multiple VMS scoring opportunities in the latter stages of the second half. Anderson was up to the challenge. After an Aspen defender wound up but whiffed on an attempted clear, Bruntz found herself with an open lane to the goal. She fired a shot to the right corner, but Anderson dove to deflect it.

Bruntz shook free moments later and again tested Anderson, but couldn’t find the net. “Lindsey won’t have a problem with shots like that from outside the box. She’s a phenomenal athlete,” Gillies said. “She’s never played in goal before, but she has raw talent.”Aspen hosts third-ranked Manitou Springs on Friday.

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