Late goal lifts Skiers over Titans
Post Independent Staff
PEACH VALLEY ” It was almost perfect.
Chelsie Ryan centered the ball to Drew Simonson. Simonson worked the ball around, looking for an opening. She fired a shot on net. It bounced off a defender and Ryan got a foot on it, sending the ball into the goal.
Unfortunately for Coal Ridge, the goal didn’t count.
An official called Ryan offsides, took back the goal. Ten seconds later time was out and Aspen won the Class 3A Western Slope League girls soccer contest 3-2 on Tuesday.
The offsides call was one of many Coal Ridge committed throughout the game.
“They run a good trap and they are organized and they push hard,” said Coal Ridge head coach Brian Blair of Aspen’s defense. “Sometimes our girls just didn’t get back. I give a lot of credit to them, but I think our girls should have adjusted a little better.”
Instead of Ryan getting the tying goal, Aspen’s Julia Hassall kicked in the game-winner for the Skiers with 5:30 left in the contest. Hassall dribbled the ball down the left side of the field, racing past defenders on her way to the goal.
“I was thinking about kicking it earlier, but I knew I would kick it over (the goal) because I always do that,” Hassall said of the goal. “So I just ran my heart out to get in the front of the girl to get it in there.”
In the first half, Ryan put the Titans on the board first. Twelve minutes into the contest, Kourtney Mitchell brought the ball down the field on a breakaway to jump-start the score. Instead of taking it in herself, Mitchell dumped the ball of the Ryan who juggled it around and sent it into the back of the net.
Hassall scored the game’s next goal 14 minutes later for Aspen. After firing two shots on goal, both of which were deflected by Titan defenders, the third went by them, and Coal Ridge goalie Vanessa Hinojos, to tie the game at 1.
The next goal came when Erica Ruiz set up a Mitchell goal with less than nine minutes left in the first half as Coal Ridge took a 2-1 led going into intermission.
Coal Ridge came out firing in the second half, but it was Aspen who struck first with a goal 17 minutes in to tie the game.
Ryan had a handful of opportunities to score again in the remainder of the game. One shot drifting over the goal, two were stopped by Aspen’s goalie and another was called offsides.
Then Hassall kicked her game-winner.
“I thought they played hard, but not always smart on the defensive end. A lot of silly plays and not communicating,” said Blair. “Even after we talked about it at halftime, both goals in the second half were because of miscommunication.”
Aspen’s record improved to 7-2-0 in the WSL and 7-3-0 overall, while Coal Ridge dropped to 5-3-1 in the WSL and 6-5-1 overall. Having just returned from a week off for Experimental Education, Aspen was happy to get back on the field and get the win.
“A lot of us are out of shape. It hurt us a lot, but in this game we really pulled together,” Hassall said. “It was hard, but in warmups we really worked on working together and by the end of the game we knew we had to win.”
Coal Ridge will next face Rangely on Thursday, then Roaring Fork on May 1 before finishing its regular season with a rematch against the Skiers in Aspen on May 2.
“We still played well,” Blair said of the Titans. “I think we can get them there and get back on track.”
Coal Ridge will head to league-leading Basalt (10-0-0 WSL, 12-0-1 overall) on Thursday, hoping to hand the Longhorns their first loss of the season.
“I think we are ready for them,” Hassall said of the match-up with Basalt.
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