Soccer shootout: Aspen boys win playoff opener
The Aspen Times
The Aspen High School boys soccer team played its way into the second round of the Class 3A State Soccer Championships on Friday in Englewood — in a shootout.
The Skiers, forced into a penalty shootout after a 0-0 tie through regulation and two overtime periods against Pinnacle High School of Federal Heights, stepped up and converted three consecutive shootout opportunities.
Aspen goalkeeper Charlie Van Allen, at the other end, made three consecutive saves in the shootout to send the No. 16 seed Skiers into a second-round match today against No. 1 overall seed Kent Denver (15-2-0).
The match is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Kent Denver’s home field in Englewood, where Aspen enjoyed the fruits of a Friday shootout.
“Every practice this week, we finished with a penalty shootout,” Aspen head coach Dave Francis said “We did that every day. And it paid off here.”
He said the Skiers went into the shootout with a bit of confidence after working on their shootout kicks all week.
“They buried them,” Francis said. “They had total confidence.”
First John Heaphey: Goal.
Second Erik Gagen: Goal.
Third Guillermo Flores: Goal.
Van Allen closed the door and stopped all three attempts by Pinnacle.
“We had three great saves from Charlie,” Francis said, adding that the Skiers (11-5-0) are excited about the opportunity to take on the state’s No. 1 team today.
“We get to play Kent Denver …. we’re excited certainly,” Francis said, adding that the Skiers enjoyed extended possession against Pinnacle.
“We played really well in the first half. And we hit the post twice in the second half,” Francis said. “We should have put away our opportunities.”
Pinnacle also had a close call on a shot off the Aspen crossbar.
“We controlled the match. But we looked like we had a bit of rust in the final attacking third,” Francis said, commending a revamped defensive unit that held No. 17 Pinnacle (10-5-1) scoreless through regulation and two overtimes.
Kent Denver advanced with a 5-0 win over Estes Park on Friday.
Aspen was one of four Western Slope League teams to win playoff openers Friday. Roaring Fork beat Roosevelt 6-0, Coal Ridge beat Sterling 4-0, Vail Mountain School beat Vanguard Charter 2-0. All will play today in the second round.
Basalt lost a tough 3-2 decision in Greeley to No. 2 overall seed Frontier Academ
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Chase Kelly, playing at No. 3 singles, won his first three matches before falling to Niwot’s Luke Weber in the final. It was the lone loss of the season for the freshman.