Longhorns blank Rams in season opener
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
EL JEBEL, Colorado – While the flaws in her team’s play were apparent, Basalt head soccer coach Makenzie Eshelman could not argue with the result.
Her Longhorns were efficient if not dominant in Thursday’s season opener against rival Roaring Fork. Basalt scored twice in the opening half, once more in the second and was never seriously tested in a 3-0 win at Crown Mountain Park.
“All things considered, it wasn’t too bad,” Eshelman said. “I expected there to be some sloppiness. I expected us to struggle with our traps. They played with a lot of intensity, though, which is the one thing they could really control at this point in the season.”
Playing without goalkeeper Jamie Matherly (vacation) and midfielder Annette Stenstadvold, who has not yet attended enough practices to become eligible, Basalt appeared lethargic at the onset. Things changed in an instant, however, when Stephanie Alavarado found a seam up the far side. The senior controlled a well-placed pass and flicked a touch shot up and over Rams goalkeeper Shaeley Lough.
Little more than 13 minutes later, in a similar position, Tori Kungli increased the Longhorns’ advantage with a powerful boot into the back of the net.
“When they took advantage of their opportunities, the ball went in. Imagine that,” Eshelman said. “We need to be more aggressive with our shot selection.”
Roaring Fork had a few prime scoring chances in the opening 40 minutes. On one occasion, a Rams free kick deflected off the gloves of Basalt goalkeeper Cira Mylott and off the crossbar. Later, Megan Gianinetti chased down a ball near the Longhorns’ net and appeared to have a clean look, but two Basalt defenders quickly closed to smother the attempt.
“We expected a good game with Basalt. There was no surprise there,” Roaring Fork head coach John Ackerman said. “They outplayed us on possession. There’s no question.
“[An early conversion on one of those chances] could’ve changed things, but I felt like we never really let down. They never got deflated, which is a real positive sign.”
The Longhorns struck once more early in the second half to all but put the match out of reach. Kungli fielded a cross, settled the ball at her feet, turned and ripped a low liner past a diving Lough and into the far corner.
Similar scoring chances were few and far between for both teams in the second half.
“There is definitely some stuff we need to work on, but it’s nothing major,” Eshelman said. “Our decision making was slow, and the way we pass from our defense up to our forwards felt a little choppy. We need more fluidity in each zone on the field.”
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