Coal Ridge tops Aspen
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
ASPEN, Colorado ” The sun had already set when the game-winning goal hit the back of the net.
Aspen’s girls soccer team only hopes that its playoff chances didn’t fade into the horizon as well Tuesday afternoon after Coal Ridge rallied from a 2-1 deficit in the second half and shoved its way back into the race for the 3A Western Slope League’s second playoff spot with a 3-2 win.
“We stayed positive the whole time, and I think that’s the way we were able to do it,” Titans coach Brian Blair said after his team’s first win over Aspen in its three-year history. “Today we got down, but instead of people being like this is going to be the same old story, everyone was like, ‘No, we’re going to win this one, we’re going to get it back.’ If you get a whole team of people to believe that, then it’s possible. They made it happen.”
Aspen, meanwhile, couldn’t believe what just happened after the final whistle blew some seven minutes into stoppage time, ending arguably the most exciting, and physical, 80 minutes of soccer played in the 3A WSL this season.
Shellshocked Skiers players were left to think about a Julia Hassall shot that pinged off the right goal post, or two defensive lapses that ended in Coal Ridge goals. There was also the 21 Aspen fouls and two yellow cards, which kept Skiers scoring threats Hassall and Lizzy Eastley on the sideline for prolonged stretches, to stew over. The loss of midfielder and senior captain Grace Seigle to injury midway through the half also stung.
“We’re really shocked,” said Hassall, who broke a 1-1 tie with 12 minutes remaining in the first half when she crossed up a defender in the box, then zipped a shot past Coal Ridge goalie Vanessa Hinojos.
After both teams settled for a tie in the first meeting, the Titans’ win only muddles the league picture.
Aspen still leads Coal Ridge in the league standings at 6-2-1, although the Skiers still have to play Basalt again. Coal Ridge, at 4-2-1, could overtake Aspen in the league standings if the Skiers pick up their third loss Thursday. The Titans’ two losses were both to Basalt.
Aspen finishes the regular season on April 29 at Rangely, while Coal Ridge plays Rangely Thursday, then finishes with Roaring Fork on April 29.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.