ASPEN, Colorado - The Aspen Skiers broke the ice on a sunny, but chilly, Tuesday afternoon.
The Aspen High School girls soccer team, scoring its first goal of the season, celebrated a hard-fought 1-0 victory over visiting Coal Ridge.
After a scoreless first half, Annabelle Wilcox scored Aspen's goal when she fought through a scrum in front of the Coal Ridge net and kicked home the game-winner 15 minutes into the second half.
The attacking Wilcox tumbled over the oncoming Coal Ridge goalkeeper to score the only goal in an otherwise scoreless match on the all-weather turf at Iselin Field.
"I just went for it," Wilcox said of the decisive play in the shadow of the Titans' goal. "I just knew it had to go in."
It did. So did Wilcox.
Then, she was swarmed by her teammates after climbing out of the back of the Coal Ridge goal. Aspen had played to scoreless ties with Basalt and Roaring Fork to start the year.
"I think it gave us a lot of energy," said Wilcox, the daughter of Juliette and John Wilcox. "We really wanted to get that goal."
The score came after a looping corner kick from freshman Logan McNamee. Katrina Klawiter, of Aspen, was involved in the play in front of the net when Wilcox scored.
"The girls stayed focused," Aspen head coach John Gillies said. "It's good to see that focus. And for the first time, our girls were aggressive right back," Gillies said.
"Coal Ridge is the most physical team on the Western Slope," he said, adding that the Aspen defense did an outstanding job marking the Titans, especially striker Kelsey Fauser an the speedy Aileen Garcia.
Aspen goalie Sally McGuren made several tough saves for the Skiers. She recorded her third consecutive shutout of the year.
In the first half alone, McGuren had to make 10 saves against the attacking Titans.
"The girls are jubilant," Gillies said after Tuesday's emotional victory. "It was a game of breaking out."
The Aspen girls soccer team (1-0-2) will play at Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale on Thursday. Coal Ridge will come home on Thursday to host Basalt.