Basalt’s playoff runs ends in a shootout loss |

Basalt’s playoff runs ends in a shootout loss

BASALT – The shootout has to be sport’s worst method of breaking a tie.

Dueling to a 2-2 tie after 120 minutes of exciting, nerve-racking playoff soccer under a cloudless, energy sapping sun, Basalt and D’Evelyn were forced to break the deadlock in the most arcane manner devised by man.

Instead of deciding the game on the field, which all state playoff games should, each team takes turns at shooting at the other one’s goalie from point-blank range.

It sounds fair. But, no one likes it.

Not even Phil Vigil, D’Evelyn’s coach, whose team won 5-4 in the fifth round of shots.

He said of Katie Long’s shot, which beat Basalt goalie Autumn Caughern to the far low post, “that’s not the way to win.”

Heather Walker, the Longhorn coach, said being defeated in the shootout, “doesn’t seem real.”

Unfortunately, the final score hit the Longhorns like a cold shower.

The win advances the Jaguars to the 3A state semifinals. And, Basalt, despite a school-record 15 wins, is done until next year.

Walker tried her best to put a good spin on the loss.

The coach said, “The team played hard, and everyone played well.” Which they did, but, as hard as they tried, 19 girls could not hide the looks of disappointment in their faces.

The Longhorns gave it everything they had.

They held the early lead on the first of Mariah Mulcahy’s two goals back in the first half of regulation.

The scoring play came in the 21st minute.

Mulcahy intercepted Jaguar Jamie Gwinner’s clearing pass, in the Longhorns’ offensive zone then drove around the sophomore midfielder, directing the ball toward the far post.

Gwinner blocked her goalkeeper’s vision just enough for the ball to slip past a sprawling Broadbent.

Basalt managed to keep the lead for a mere seven minutes.

That’s where Caughern made her only mistake of the game. She jumped early on Allison Schmitt’s long shot. The Basalt keeper’s mistimed leap allowed the ball to hit the crossbar.

The rebound crossed the goal line and the Longhorns lead had evaporated.

Jessica Proett gave D’Evelyn the lead with a minute left before halftime. The Jaguars held the lead until Mulcahy scored 15 minutes into the second half.

Molly McGrath started the scoring play after heading down a loose ball in the midfield area. After gaining control, the senior threaded a pass to an open Mulcahy on the left wing, who finished the play by scoring inside the far post.

As time wound down in regulation Caughern made a number of key saves to kept D’Evelyn off the scoreboard.

Her best stop of the game came in the second overtime period.

Long had eluded Basalt’s defenders and had Caughern at her mercy. But, the Longhorn sophomore managed to keep the ball out the net by taking Jaguars’ blast squarely in the face.

“Autumn had her best game of the year,” Walker said afterwards.

However, the shootout’s not designed for goalies.

The sophomore allowed four straight goals to D’Evelyn shooters.

Basalt retaliated by scoring four times against Broadbent, until the Jaguar senior stopped Christie Thompson in round five, setting up Long for the game-winner.

Long’s winning shot wasn’t fancy. It clung to the ground and tucked itself into the far corner, beyond Caughern’s diving reach.

D’Evelyn, who boosted their record to 12-4-1, plays the winner of this afternoon’s match between Aspen and Faith Christian.

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