Soccer: Five first-half goals fuel Eagle Valley rout in Aspen |

Soccer: Five first-half goals fuel Eagle Valley rout in Aspen

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jon Maletz/The Aspen TimesAspen's Nelson Orellana attempts to knock the ball away from an Eagle Valley player Thursday at Iselin Field.

ASPEN – With his team missing three starters and squaring off against non-conference foe Eagle Valley, Aspen head soccer coach Junior Sutherland opted to start five freshmen Thursday afternoon.

His young squad was thoroughly outplayed from the outset on a frigid afternoon on the new turf at Iselin Field. The Devils struck for three goals in the first 12 minutes and five in the first 40 – a half Sutherland deemed “the worst I’ve ever seen.” The Skiers regrouped down the stretch, but never threatened Eagle Valley in a

7-3 loss.

“It was a horrible first half,” Sutherland said. “There are no excuses. The young guys have to be able to step up, and they didn’t.”

Just three minutes into the game, the Devils’ Jesus Saenz came away with the ball on a counterattack, took a quick touch and ripped a low liner into the Aspen net.

Quick-strike Eagle Valley scored twice in less than a minute soon after; Dalton Hill clipped the net from a difficult angle, then Nestor Escobar rattled the cage with a strong boot, stretching the lead to three.

The usually boisterous Sutherland fell silent for the duration of the half. The Devils offense continued to make a loud statement.

About 13 minutes before the break, a Skiers player was whistled for a penalty in the box; Aspen goalkeeper Erik Wehse sprawled out to save Kevin Escobar’s ensuing penalty kick, but Escobar quickly tracked down the rebound and tapped it in.

Aspen freshman John Heaphey momentarily quelled the onslaught in the 33rd minute with a high shot that slipped out of the Eagle Valley keeper’s hands and filtered into the net.

Saenz tacked on another score about two minutes before intermission, tracking down a well-struck through ball and flicking a shot on goal before colliding with an on-rushing Wehse.

Sutherland let his players have it soon after.

“Embarrassing, totally embarrassing,” the coach said. “I gave them a good bollocking at halftime. … Sometimes when you play a non-conference game, you think it’s not important and you let up – the players, the coaches. That’s not right. You should be giving 100 percent.

“I told them they needed to step up and play better. … they were a little more competitive in the second half.”

After Nestor Escobar one-timed a perfect cross past Wehse in the 52nd minute, the Skiers (4-7) responded with consecutive scores in a two-minute span. Fritz Carpenter knocked home a rebound in a crowded box in the 66th minute, then Erick Perez converted a penalty kick.

Yet another defensive breakdown cost Aspen down the stretch, however. Kevin Escobar slipped past the defense in the final minute and scored from close range, helping send the Skiers to their fourth consecutive defeat.

Aspen will look to rebound Thursday when it visits Roaring Fork.

“You know, we have three games left in league. They all count,” Sutherland said. “It’s been a tough season … but if we win all three, we can go to state. It’s pretty simple. We’ll see what happens.”

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