Longhorns push past gritty Roaring Fork, 3-2
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
As Bertilio Garcia prepared to enter Thursday’s game, Basalt head soccer coach Brent Hayes implored his junior to use his powerful right leg and let the shots fly.
It was Garcia’s head that proved most dangerous against valley rival Roaring Fork, however. The midfielder headed home a perfect corner kick from cousin Willy Salamanca in the 74th minute to break a tie, and Basalt, which earlier had squandered a 2-0 lead, hung on for the 3-2 win – the seventh in a row for the state’s seventh-ranked team.
“By no stretch were we overconfident – we saw them last Thursday kill Hotchkiss. We knew they’d be ready,” said Hayes, whose side pounded the Rams, 7-1, in Sept. 1’s season opener. “They played a great game. It was super intense, that’s for sure.”
Especially in the second half.
Despite controlling possession for the vast majority of the game, Basalt found itself locked in a tight contest after an unfortunate string of events. Senior Hector Morales lined up for a penalty kick in the 45th minute that would’ve given the Longhorns a 3-1 lead, but the Roaring Fork goalkeeper smothered both the attempt and the rebound. Less than 2 minutes later, the Rams’ Sam Carpenter drilled a penalty kick past Basalt keeper Chandler Crymble, squaring the match.
“First of all we were shocked, wondering what was going on. … [Morales] never misses,” Garcia said.
Added Hayes: “That was brutal. Terribly frustrating. You just can’t miss those shots. We’ve been doing a good job on those all season, but maybe the nerves of this big game got to Hector a little bit.
“Honestly, though, I was more frustrated about that first goal we gave up.”
The Longhorns appeared to seize control of this match early in the first half. While Roaring Fork packed the box, routinely placing 10 players behind the ball to cut off passing lanes, Basalt still managed to find a little space with which to operate.
Salamanca found a little crease in the 15th minute, sidestepped a defender and launched a low liner into the net. About 20 minutes later, Garcia drilled a shot from about 30 yards out; the Rams keeper, situated on the near post, barely had time to react as the ball sped into the opposite corner, stretching the Longhorns’ lead to two.
Roaring Fork took advantage of a Basalt miscue, however, to answer little more than 2 minutes before halftime. Carpenter was taken down on the near sideline, drawing a penalty. The senior quickly lined up the free kick and lofted a perfect cross into the box; teammate Allen Garcia emerged from a crowd and headed the ball home.
“That should never have happened,” Hayes said. “You don’t go after their best player and dive in, but that’s what we did. We gave them a free kick, and they made a beautiful play.
“Halftime came at a good time. They really had us on our heels the last 10 minutes.”
That pressure increased after Carpenter’s goal, but the Longhorns maintained their composure and kept looking to attack.
“It was frustrating, but I always try to tell my guys they need to be patient. It really showed,” Hayes said. “I always say I want us to be the most fit team in the state, and we saw it today for the last 20 minutes. … We are good enough to possess around teams, and they were getting tired.”
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