Aspen boys soccer rallies past Roaring Fork
ASPEN — The Aspen High School boys soccer team scored four second-half goals to come from behind and beat Roaring Fork 4-2 in a sun-soaked nonconference match Tuesday afternoon at Iselin Field.
The Skiers, who fell behind when Roaring Fork’s Lalo Clement scored on a direct kick from just outside the penalty area in the 24th minute, pulled even in the opening minutes of the second half.
Aspen senior John Heaphey started the attack with a run up the right sideline. He centered to fellow senior Griffin Stevens, who converted for a 1-1 score.
The visiting Rams, who outshot the Skiers 9-4 in the first half, regained a 2-1 lead midway through the second half when Misael Ramos headed home a goal after a scramble in front of the Aspen net.
Roaring Fork held the 2-1 advantage until there were nine minutes to play and the Skiers netted the first of three consecutive late goals.
Garret McNichol knocked in a left-footed shot and tied the game on a quick Aspen counterattack on the smaller pitch at Iselin, located adjacent to the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC).
With overtime looming as the clock ticked down, the Skiers had a throw-in from deep in Rams’ territory. Joel Brice collected the ball outside the Roaring Fork box.
He blasted a low liner into the net for a 3-2 Aspen lead with just three minutes to play in regulation.
Barely a minute later, Heaphey finished the scoring with a touch goal up and over the Roaring Fork keeper for Aspen’s final 4-2 margin in the nonleague game, the first of the season for Roaring Fork.
“Once we settled down in the second half, we started to really compete,” Aspen head coach Dave Francis said. “We needed to go out and play our game, not panic.”
He said some halftime positioning adjustments helped as well.
“It needed some tweaking,” Francis said, adding that the Skiers had to rely on their confidence and experience. “[Roaring Fork] was finding gaps in our [defense].”
The Rams, behind attacks from Clement, Ramos, Ben Carpenter, Abraham Hernandez and Lorenzo Andrade, piled on the pressure in the first half.
“We were lucky. We could have been three or four [goals] down in the first half,” Francis said. “But we came back really well.”
He said the Skiers lost twice to Roaring Fork last year.
“Roaring Fork is a great side. We knew this would be a tough game. That No. 17 [Clement] and No. 12 there in the middle [Carpenter] … they’ve got some great players,” Francis said after the Skiers improved to 2-0-0 to start the new season.
Charlie Van Allen was in goal for the Aspen victory.
Francis said the Skiers also utilized their depth in the fast-paced game against the Rams.
“We’ve got some strength in depth as well,” Francis said.
The Skiers will continue their preseason schedule with a 4 p.m. match Thursday against Moffat County at the Aspen School District Stadium.
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It may be by a technicality, but the Valley Valkyries 7s rugby club were the de facto champions of their hosted tournament Saturday.