This sequel was better.
The Aspen and Battle Mountain girls lacrosse teams produced thriller 2.0 on Friday afternoon, matching goals and wits in a game that matched the triple-overtime, sudden-death classic the Skiers and Huskies played two weeks ago in Edwards.
This time, no overtime but equal drama in a game that was tied 5-5 at halftime before the homestanding Skiers finished with an 11-9 victory on Senior Day in Aspen.
“We have such a great group of seniors this year,” said Aspen sophomore Kendall Anderson. “It was so exciting to get the win for them.”
Anderson scored a key Aspen goal late in the first half as the Skiers scrambled back from Battle Mountain’s early 4-0 lead.
The Aspen sophomore potted a hat trick in the second half, crediting her teammates as quickly as she fired her shots on the field.
“It’s the support of my team. It’s all of them,” said Anderson, the daughter of Laurie and Jon Anderson. She scored off a nifty pass from behind the goal by senior Libby Dowley late in the second half with the Skiers holding a tense 8-7 lead.
Two goals in 13 seconds
Just 13 seconds after Anderson’s goal, Claire Boronski scored to push Aspen’s lead to 10-7 with 4:44 to play.
But per the sequel script, Battle Mountain pushed the pace late and scored two goals in the final three minutes to increase the nervous factor on the Aspen sideline.
“I wish it didn’t come down to the wire like that,” Battle Mountain coach Emily Jaissle said. “But the girls fought to the last whistle.”
Battle Mountain captain Maddi Conlin, who had scored three times in the 5-5 opening half, scored again on an underhand toss after bolting around from behind the net. Conlin then assisted on another Huskies’ goal — a shot from Tyra Kuller with 1:27 to play, cutting the final margin to 11-9.
The Huskies, playing without standout Clare Baker, attacked again in the closing minute.
Aspen goalie Hannah Clauss turned back two shots, and defender Ashley Henschel thwarted another Battle Mountain rush.
“We had to make some adjustments right before the half,” Jaissle said. “It took a few minutes.”
Baker, who had scored earlier in the game, was injured in a collision in front of the Aspen net on an Anderson goal for the Skiers with 5:46 to play in the opening half.
After she was down on the field and treated by trainers, she walked to an ambulance with the assistance of medical personnel.
“I was proud of the fight my team put in,” Jaissle said of the nonleague rematch in Aspen. The Skiers had won 14-13 in Edwards on Shannon Turbidy’s sudden-death goal in the third overtime.
“Ever since we won last year on this field, we held ourselves to the standard that we can compete with and hopefully beat a team of this caliber,” the Battle Mountain coach said.
The Huskies (10-5) blitzed the Skiers from the start Friday with Hayley Frischolz scoring a minute and a half into the game.
Conlin scored twice and Baker once in the Huskies’ 4-0 run.
Turbidy powered Aspen’s comeback with two goals. Anderson scored and senior Nina Christiansen added a first-half goal for the Skiers (12-3).
“I don’t know what it is about this team in the second half ... they get positive, start smiling and enjoying themselves on the field,” Aspen head coach Lauren Riddick said. “That translates into wins.”
She said the Skiers had to turn back a determined Battle Mountain team.
“They wanted that win,” Riddick said as the Skiers await their seeding in the state playoffs, which will start next week.
Aspen, as the Mountain League champion, may get a home playoff opener Tuesday or Wednesday.
Seedings will be announced Sunday.
“I think we’ll stay the course (in the playoffs),” Riddick said. “It’s working for us so far.”
Just like a good sequel.