Soccer: Aspen High falls in season opener to Jefferson Academy
With a young core, the Aspen High School boys soccer team is likely to take a few lumps before it gets things figured out. One of those lumps came Tuesday in a 4-0, season-opening home loss to Jefferson Academy, a team that has reached double-digit wins each of the past two seasons.
“We know there is a big learning curve for us this year,” said Aspen High coach Dave Francis. “We graduated 12 seniors last year, so we got a pretty young squad. We definitely got some experienced guys in there, but we don’t have the kinds of numbers of the older age that we’ve had previously.”
The Skiers are coming off a 6-9-1 season and a second-consecutive trip to the Class 3A state playoffs. Their season ended when it gave top-seeded Kent Denver — the eventual state champion — a run for its money before falling 2-0 as the No. 32 seed in the first round.
However, much of that team is gone, leaving Aspen in something of a rebuilding mode for 2016.
The Skiers held their own for most of the first half against Jefferson Academy, a goal by Jaguar junior co-captain Alex Kelso in the 37th minute lead to a 1-0 halftime deficit for Aspen.
“At halftime we felt that we were very much in the game,” Francis said. “We felt confident in the second half we could probably go out there and impose ourselves more, but we conceded an early goal. They stopped doing the things we have worked on. They stopped making the passes we know they should make.”
The Jaguars came out in the second half and wasted no time putting some distance between themselves and Aspen. Jefferson Academy made it 2-0 with a goal by senior Brandon Leeper in the 44th minute, and 3-0 with a goal by senior Shervin Kazemi in the 48th minute.
Aspen steadied the ship for the most part from there, but the Jaguars were able to add one final goal by sophomore Ian Coen in the 76th minute to reach the final 4-0 margin.
“After two goals, we looked like we sort of got our heads down a bit. They kind of went into their shell,” Francis said. “I’m a little disappointed that we sort of disappeared into our shell a bit. I want to see us still progress. We came out of it again in the last 10 or 15 minutes, but the game had got away from us by then.”
Francis did say he saw plenty of good out of the young players, as well, noting their ability to get the ball into the box.
Aspen (0-1) will travel to Vail Mountain for a 4 p.m. game Thursday before hosting Lutheran on Saturday.
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