Aspen girls lacrosse rallies back from four goals down to stun Roaring Fork, 12-11
Throughout Kylie Kenny’s tenure on the Aspen High School girls lacrosse team, the senior has rarely had to rally her team from a four-goal deficit. But with a less experienced squad around her this spring, come-from-behind wins seem to be the new norm.
With the game slipping away in the second half against Roaring Fork, Kenny and junior Mia Seltzer were the catalysts in Aspen’s 12-11 stunner on Monday over visiting Rams on the rainy AHS turf.
The win keeps the Skiers undefeated on the young season and drops a strong Roaring Fork team to 3-1 in the 4A Mountain East league.
“It’s always important to remember no matter the deficit we are at, if we rally together as a team we can always work together to get the outcome that we want,” Kenny said. “At the end of the day, this program comes down to being about family — family on the field, family off the field. Having that support system allowed us to rally back in a big way. We all support each other and love each other no matter what. I think having that support system is really crucial to hype us up and push us in the last couple of minutes.”
Monday’s game marked only the second meeting between the programs. Roaring Fork’s inaugural season was in 2019 — when AHS went undefeated in the regular season — a spring that included a 23-4 loss to the Skiers. The 2020 lacrosse season was canceled because of the pandemic.
“All things considered, this was the best game these girls have ever played and Terry Claassen, my co-coach, and I are so incredibly proud of how they played and the sportsmanship they displayed while playing the game,” Roaring Fork coach Chelsea Robson said. “They have come such a long way (since the 2019 season).”
With under 2 minutes left in the second half, the Rams held a narrow 10-9 lead, but there was a possession change due to a technicality with a time out.
The Skiers tied the game at 10-all with only 1:24 to play. The Rams answered back only 23 seconds later, a goal by sophomore Sophie Hodgson putting the visitors back on top with a minute to go.
Seltzer tied the game at 11-11 with 33 seconds to play, and Kenny put the finishing touches on the contest 20 seconds later, the icing on top of a wild final two minutes.
“They need to take a step back and realize what the other team is doing and adapt,” AHS coach Amanda Trendell said of coaching her team to another come-from-behind victory. “I can pick apart a game plan and then as my girls learn the game more, since they are so young, they are learning how to pick it apart. And all we did was analyze it, adjust, and then turn up the fire, because we just came out flat.”
The Skiers trailed by a pair of goals at halftime and fell down 8-4 early in the second half before eventually tying the game at 8-8 with just under 15 minutes to go in regulation. In the team’s home opener last week against Battle Mountain, AHS also rallied from a rare halftime deficit for the win.
“We were kind of just focusing on lifting each other up and taking it play-by-play to switch the momentum,” Kenny said of the final few minutes of Monday’s game. “It’s always very exciting to pull out a win in a close game. This is huge for us to take this momentum and work even harder in practice and get faster, stronger, better shots for the next time we face really difficult teams.”
Photos: AHS girls lacrosse vs Roaring Fork
It was the first loss of the season for Roaring Fork (3-1), which had opened the spring with wins over Eagle Valley (16-14), Summit (21-1) and Steamboat Springs (16-1).
The win improved Aspen’s record to 3-0 overall. In a somewhat perplexing move, AHS dropped from No. 2 in Class 4A to No. 12 in this week’s CHSAANow.com poll, which was released Monday prior to the game with Roaring Fork. The Rams also earned a pair of votes in the polling.
As Kenny was apt to point out after the game, many of the Aspen and Roaring Fork athletes grew up playing together, so Monday’s contest meant more than usual. A few of the Rams’ players even attend Basalt High School, which doesn’t have its own lacrosse program but is in the same school district as Roaring Fork.
“This is what the mountains need,” Trendell said of what will likely be a growing rivalry between the Rams and Skiers. “I feel the same way with Battle Mountain. I know a lot of the Roaring Fork girls. They’ve been working just as hard, and they came out hard. I have a lot of respect for those girls and for that team. It was good for our girls to play in an intense atmosphere but then come together and pull out a win. You can’t ask for a better thing as a coach.”
Roaring Fork isn’t scheduled to play again until May 27 at Steamboat Springs. The Skiers will play twice more this week with a game Thursday against Summit and a game Friday against Steamboat. RFHS and AHS will meet once more this season, a May 29 game in Carbondale.
Post Independent senior reporter John Stroud [email@example.com] also contributed to this report.
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