Glenwood lacrosse strikes late to down Aspen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
ASPEN, Colorado ” An errant Aspen pass sent players scurrying for a loose ball as it bounded across midfield in the final minute Tuesday.
Two Glenwood Springs lacrosse players and one Skiers defender converged. The Demons’ Drew Wagner emerged with both the ball and a clear path to the net.
“Dru Avery, our captain, came in and lifted (the defender’s) stick with his back hand and wouldn’t let him get to the ball,” Wagner said. “I just picked it up and cleaned up the garbage.”
And sealed an improbable win.
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Wagner’s ensuing shot sailed under the stick of Aspen goalkeeper Daniel Ryerson and into the net, breaking a 7-all tie with 53 seconds remaining. One failed Skiers possession later, and the Demons bench spilled onto the Aspen High Field turf to celebrate a dramatic 8-7 victory ” their third in 13 games this season.
“Aspen and Glenwood have developed a pretty good rivalry, but we always come up short,” Demons head coach Greg Schroeder said. “The kids played a great game. They deserved everything they got.”
Glenwood dealt the first blow in a tight game in which the teams traded the lead three times. Avery shook free behind the defense, cradled a pass from Drew Halsch and scored 65 seconds into the first quarter. Little more than four minutes later, Cole Kloster knifed through a host of Skiers defenders and scored the first of his three goals to stretch the lead to two.
After Aspen’s Nicky Fuller found the net following a Demons turnover, Tyler Thulson answered with an acrobatic goal.
As a defender closed to pressure him with little more than 90 seconds to play in the quarter, Thulson spun to the inside and flicked a shot past Ryerson.
“They play a very chaotic, throw-the-ball-down-the-field-and-see-what-happens kind of style,” Aspen coach Mike Goerne said. “It’s very disorganized, and it really forces the defense to step up and play on intuition and natural instinct. … They had a good jump on us.”
The Skiers’ offense, one that was revamped after Tuesday’s loss to Grand Valley and produced seven first-quarter goals in Thursday’s blowout win over Eagle Valley, started clicking in the second period. Fuller found the net at 10:37 and Cody Horn squared the game at three less than two minutes later, alertly knocking home a rebound after teammate Bo Writer’s shot was stuffed.
That momentum continued into the first four minutes of third quarter. Desmond Duggan sprinted off the sideline on a line change, scooped up a loose ball and ran right through the middle of the Demons’ defense for the go-ahead score with 9:05 remaining. Two minutes later, Michael Ryerson padded the lead when he finished off a pass from Fuller a few feet in front of the net.
“We had a little momentary lapse of consciousness,” Schroeder said. “The kids got focused again, and came together as a team. … We’ve always kind of been a come-from-behind team. It was nice to have the early lead and keep it that way.”
Halsch cut the Glenwood deficit in half when, with 7:14 to play, he was tackled hard to the turf but maintained possession and scored. Soon after, Kloster spotted an opening and fired a wrister from the left side that clipped the net, tying the game.
“I spotted an opening in the corner ” they left me hanging alone a half second too long,” Kloster said. “[When we were down], I still was thinking we had this. We had to stay strong and trust our defense and goalie.”
Kloster knocked in a goal just as the third-quarter buzzer sounded to put the Demons ahead once more. Teammate J.R. Krueger found some open space and scored three minutes into the fourth, causing some dejection in the home stands.
That sentiment was magnified 40 seconds later when Glenwood goalie John Adams smothered a point-blank shot from Fuller.
“We went out there and took a ton of shots. Their goalie was all over the cage,” Goerne said. “The offense worked. … We just ran out of a time.”
But not before a spirited rally fueled by Bo Writer. The junior, fresh off a seven-goal performance one day earlier, scored twice during a two-minute stretch to square the game at seven with 6:35 to play.
The Demons missed a prime scoring chance with 5:38 to play when Ryerson left the cage and was caught out of position; Skiers defenseman Tim Beirne alertly covered the crease, however, and knocked the ensuing shot away with his leg.
Glenwood didn’t miss its next golden opportunity ” one that clinched the game and dealt a heavy blow to Aspen’s playoff chances. The Skiers, who are now 8-5, were hoping to nab one of 16 wild card playoff berths, which are voted on by state coaches. Mountain Conference champion Steamboat Springs has already locked up an automatic bid, which is given to champions in Colorado’s eight leagues.
“At this point, we’re focused on our own program,” Goerne said. “Our time and place will come.”
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