Skiers slip past VMS |

Skiers slip past VMS

Jon Maletz
Paul Conrad/Special to the DailyVail Mountain School goal keeper Della Elich knocks the ball away after a second-half Aspen corner kick Tuesday afternoon in Aspen High School. Aspen defeated visiting VMS, 2-1.

ASPEN – In Saturday’s lopsided win against Olathe, Aspen goalkeeper Lindsey Anderson was pulled from the net in time to record both a goal and an assist in the second half. She was needed between the posts for the duration of Tuesday’s game against Vail Mountain School, however. The freshman keeper made a pair of diving saves down the stretch and forward Shelby Burke scored twice – including the game winner late in the second half – as Aspen avoided going to overtime for a second time in its last three contests with a 2-1 victory.The Skiers (3-1 overall and 3-1 in the 3A Slope) have won three straight after their season-opening loss to Basalt on March 13. “Shelby’s hungry for goals and is always fighting for position,” Aspen head coach John Gillies said. “She wants it more and today it showed.”

Burke scored three times Saturday in a match that ended 15 minutes early because of the 10-goal mercy rule. Tuesday she made the most of her few precious opportunities. The last – and most pivotal – came in the final five minutes of the second half of a tie game. Burke faded toward the front of the VMS net as teammate Julia Hassall lined up a shot from the left side. The ball deflected off Gore Rangers goalkeeper Della Elich; Burke was positioned perfectly to finish with a header. She had a golden opportunity to extend the Skiers lead to two and all but seal the game two minutes later when, after Maggie Melberg fired a shot that rang off the crossbar, the ball ricocheted right to her in the box. Burke reached out and touched the ball instead of letting it drop to her feet and was whistled for a hand ball.”I blame (former Aspen basketball coach Dave) Conarroe for that one,” Burke joked. Hassall injured the top of her right foot in Thursday’s overtime win against Roaring Fork and was expected to sit out two weeks. She played Tuesday, however, and connected with Burke for the game’s opening goal 23 minutes into the first half. Hassall one-touched a ball out of mid air and led Burke with a perfect pass down the right side. Burke outran the defender and fired a well-placed shot out of Elich’s reach.

VMS makes a pushThe lead lasted only 17 minutes. After a few poor Skiers passing exchanges in front of Anderson, Lani Bruntz controlled the ball then passed back to teammate Kris Caples. Caples lofted a shot from 20 yards out that sailed over Anderson and under the crossbar for a stoppage-time equalizer.”We played much more settled than I anticipated,” said VMS coach Bob Bandoni, whose tream was playing its season opener. “We were fairly balanced and strung together some nice possessions through midfield.

“We were finding seams in the defense, but their goalie was spectacular. She kept them in the game.”Strong possessions yielded multiple VMS scoring opportunties in the latter stages of the second half. Anderson was up to the challenge. After an Aspen defender wound up but whiffed on an attempted clear, Bruntz found herself with the ball and an open lane to the goal. She fired a shot to the right corner of the goal, but Anderson dove to deflect it out of harm’s way.Bruntz shook free moments later and again tested Anderson, who momentarily had the wind knocked out of her after lunging for the ball and hitting the ground, but couldn’t find the net. “Lindsey won’t have a problem with shots like that from outside the box. She’s a phenomenal athlete,” Gillies said. “She’s never played in goal before, but she has raw talent.”The Gore Rangers will look to notch the season’s first win Thursday against Roaring Fork at Bandoni Alumni Field at 4 p.m.

Support Local Journalism