Longhorns blank Oysters, remain undefeated
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado – The Basalt soccer team is closing in on another league crown.
The Longhorns moved a step closer to clinching a second consecutive 3A Western Slope League title with an efficient if not dominant road effort Thursday afternoon against Colorado Rocky Mountain School. Basalt struck for two goals in the first half and connected once more in the waning minutes of regulation en route to a 3-0 victory.
The Longhorns, 11-0 overall and 6-0 in league play, visit 4A Battle Mountain on Saturday, then close out the regular season with two conference games – against Coal Ridge on Tuesday, then at Vail Mountain School on Thursday.
“It’s pretty much ‘Here we go again’ with Coal Ridge. The way it’s setting up, it’s just like last year when we ruined their undefeated season essentially,” said Basalt head coach Brent Hayes, whose squad leads Coal Ridge, a 6-0 winner over Grand Valley in other action Thursday, by one game in the league standings.
“It will be kind of a winner-take-all game. That’s not to say we can’t lose to Vail, or they can’t lose one of their last games, but if everybody takes care of business like they should, Tuesday will be for the league.”
The Longhorns took care of business Thursday in Carbondale. While they lacked their typical energy, Basalt dominated possession and repeatedly challenged CRMS goalkeeper Alex Henderson in the first 40 minutes.
Bertilio Garcia broke a scoreless tie with an impressive move in the 17th minute; the junior faked a shot from close range, causing a defender to fly by him, then ripped a low liner that appeared to bound off Henderson’s gloves as it rolled into the far corner of the net.
Seven minutes later, Josue Fernandez, situated close to the far post, booted home a well-placed corner kick to increase the visitors’ advantage.
“We made a few mistakes, and they made us pay for it,” CRMS head coach Dan Pittz said. “You just have to play a full, complete game [to beat them]. That’s what they bring every day. From one whistle to the next, they don’t let up. We’re not quite there yet.”
Added Hayes: “We were trying some new things today – so many people have been packing the box and we haven’t had a lot of goal opportunities. We played a little bit more freewheeling, kind of like the Basalt soccer of old. … I told them today, ‘Look, it’s not just about possessing the ball 90 percent, it’s about sending it through and seeing what happens.’ I was pleased with what I saw.”
David Salguero finished off CRMS with a powerful left-footed goal in the 71st minute, and the Longhorns recorded their seventh shutout of the season.
“It was nice to get three solid goals and hold them on their home field to only a few good chances,” Hayes said. “It was nice to have a wire-to-wire lead. Most of the game felt comfortable.”
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