Skiers’ goalie shuts down Palisade’s attack
The Palisade High School boys soccer team had plenty of chances Thursday, but couldn’t finish against Aspen, falling 2-0 in a nonleague game at Palisade.
Aspen’s junior goalie, Erik Wehse, turned back a barrage of Bulldog shots and stonewalled their attack. Wehse had 18 saves in his shutout performance.
“Aspen plays well and they have a big keeper with good hands,” Palisade coach Drake Jandreau said. “We played right into their game, launching shots from 30 or 40 yards out. (Wehse) can cover that all day.”
Palisade (2-11, 1-8 WSL) got its first chance in the fifth minute when freshman Joe Talbott swung a curving cross right into Kasey Bruggeman’s path, but Bruggeman bounced the ball off the top right corner of the goal frame. On the ensuing possession, Aspen drove the length of the field, where Alex Ferreira tapped a low shot into the right side of the net to give Aspen a 1-0 lead.
“We struggled to communicate and didn’t focus on taking good shots,” Bruggeman said.
Palisade had a chance to draw even in the 27th minute when Spencer Jackson stroked a free kick from 20 yards out, only to have a sprawling Wehse push it wide.
Jackson got another chance heading into the half, when his shot from near the goal line skipped off the top of the crossbar.
Palisade contained Aspen’s attack well into the second half, holding the Skiers without a shot until the 65th minute, but couldn’t generate an attack of its own.
In the 69th minute, Palisade had its best scoring chance of the game, but Wehse shut it down. The Bulldogs took a shot from 10 yards out and had two rebounded shots before Wehse corralled the ball.
Kyler Sciarrone gave Aspen some breathing room in the 79th minute when he blasted a rebounded ball top-shelf.
“Today was not us,” said Jandreau, whose team closes out the regular season Tuesday at home against Glenwood Springs. “I don’t know if we thought we could beat them because they’re a smaller 3A team, but we played way down.
“That was not the team I’ve seen play with tougher competition the last few weeks. We outshot them and outplayed them, but didn’t play as unit.”
The Bulldogs outshot Aspen 18-12, and Palisade goalie Jose Miranda notched 10 saves.
Palisade swept Battle Mountain 25-21, 25-15, 26-24 behind a well-balanced effort. Jenny Thibodeau had 26 digs, Shannon Rhodes 29 assists, Audrey Steinkirchner 16 kills and Tahverle Hodges four aces for the Bulldogs (13-3, 8-1 Western Slope League).
Palisade hosts Eagle Valley at 1 p.m. Saturday in a key match as the Bulldogs try to maintain their hold on the league lead. Eagle Valley is 5-2 in WSL play.