Demon girls blank Longhorns
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
BASALT, Colorado – Basalt soccer coach Makenzie Eshelman called it a “monumental breakdown.”
Her Longhorns hung with 4A Glenwood Springs during a scoreless first half – they even had a few chances to take the lead. Then, things went awry in a hurry.
While the home team looked lost on both sides of the pitch in the final 40 minutes, the Demons found their way on offense. They struck for two goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half and three total en route to a 3-0, nonconference victory.
“I have no idea what team that was out there,” Eshelman said of her squad afterward. “In the first half, we played well. In the second, we were leaving them wide open all over the field.”
Added Glenwood coach Steve White: “I think the difference was the adjustment we made. We decided to go with more short passes so we’d have more possessions and hold the ball on the dribble more. … They were anticipating those long passes [in the first half] and getting in front of them.”
The strategy worked, and a noticeably energized Demons side seized control of this match mere minutes after the break. They routinely flooded the Basalt zone, pressuring both Longhorns defenders and goalkeeper Cira Mylott.
In the 44th minute, Hope Whitman broke the deadlock with the first of her two scores; teammate Mariah Martin corralled a throw-in, then lofted a perfect cross into the box that Whitman headed home a few steps from the far post.
“We didn’t mark up on the throw-in, and they capitalized and punished us for it,” Eshelman said.
Added White: “I did see momentum change. That [goal] took the air out of them.”
Martin extended the lead about 10 minutes later, scoring on a ground ball from close range following a well-placed pass from Michaela Mansfield.
While the Longhorns struggled to generate shots, Glenwood (11-1) never let up. Whitman finished off the scoring – and Basalt – with a bold move in the 65th minute; she took on a few Basalt defenders on a quick burst to her right, then stopped abruptly and fired a shot back to her left, catching Mylott off guard and out of position.
“When we play the way we know how, we’re as good as anybody,” Eshelman said. “When we let down, it’s ugly.”
The loss, their second in the last three games, kicks off a challenging week for the Longhorns (8-3). After Thursday’s home game with rival Aspen (4 p.m.), Basalt visits Vail Mountain School on April 30, then closes out the regular season May 5 at Coal Ridge in a match that likely will decide the 3A Western Slope crown.
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Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.