Soccer: Aspen gets close look at No. 1 Kent Denver
The Aspen Times
Opportunity came knocking for the Aspen High School boys soccer team.
Now, said head coach Dave Francis, it’s time to take advantage of the opportunity.
The Skiers, with a tiebreaker in the Western Slope League, secured the final berth in the Class 3A state soccer playoffs. No. 32 Aspen will open against No. 1-seed Kent Denver at 3 p.m. Friday at Kent Denver High School.
“This is an opportunity to show what we can do,” Francis said. “We’ve got to make the most of it.”
He said he was pleased the Skiers got into the playoffs after a regular season of mixed results but great effort.
“We have some great players … and they’ve played hard. It would have been a shame for these guys to not go into the state playoffs,” said Francis, who has led the Aspen boys into the postseason for two consecutive seasons.
And for the second year in a row, the Skiers will take on a Kent Denver team that’s lost only one match in two seasons with a state title last year.
“We played them last year,” Francis said. “We know a little bit of what to expect.”
He said the chance to play Kent Denver again will be a great experience for the Skiers, especially the younger players.
“Our younger lads will have a chance to see what the No. 1 team is like,” Francis said.
Plus, Kent Denver will face pressure of its own as a heavy favorite playing at home.
“We have to respect (Kent Denver’s accomplishments). But in soccer, on any given day, anybody can win,” Francis said.
Aspen enters with a 6-8-1 overall record, 4-4-0 in the Western Slope League.
Kent Denver is 14-0-1 overall. The Sun Devils finished 8-0-0 in conference.
Kent’s tie came against Fountain Valley 1-1.
The winner of Friday’s Aspen-Kent Denver match will move into Saturday’s second-round contest against the winner of No. 16 Basalt vs. No. 17 Sheridan. That match is set for 1 p.m. today at Kent Denver High School.
Saturday’s second round game is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Kent Denver.
Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Aspen’s John Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him. He eventually finished runner-up in the iconic race.
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