Penalty, two own goals cost Longhorns soccer
The Aspen Times
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Basalt head soccer coach Makenzie Eshelman deemed the odd string of events “unfortunate.”
There really was no better way to describe Saturday’s second-round 3A playoff game against Peak to Peak in Lafayette. The fifth-seeded Pumas converted a penalty kick early in the first, then were the beneficiaries of two Longhorns own goals in the second half.
Peak to Peak tacked on two more goals down the stretch and steadily pulled away, securing a 5-2 win over No. 21 Basalt.
“I have never coached a game when we had one own goal, and when you have two in a playoff game, it’s quite strange,” Eshelman said. “When you’re working that hard and playing good defense and getting high pressure, sometimes it happens. It’s just part of the game.”
This game started off unfavorably for the Longhorns (9-5-1), who also were ousted in the second round last year by the Pumas (13-3-1). Basalt’s Jamie Matherly dove to knock the ball away from a driving Peak to Peak player in the 10th minute and subsequently was whistled for tripping.
Belle Morel hit the back of the net on the ensuing penalty kick, giving the home team the early edge.
“That was not the greatest way to start,” Eshelman said. “You never think it was [worth] a penalty kick as a coach. I just thought it was good defense. … Jamie cleared the ball and their girl was on the ground. She must’ve gotten the ball and the girl, but I saw her just get the ball.”
Katie King helped the Longhorns pull even with a goal in the first two minutes of the second half.
The Pumas took advantage of a fortuitous bounce to take the lead for good some seven minutes later. Basalt sweeper Shelley Briscoe attempted to head a cross out of harm’s way, but she wound up knocking the ball into her net.
“All our momentum was gone as soon as that happened,” Eshelman said.
Not long after, King had an attempted clear bounce off her shin guard and again find the visitors’ net.
“At that point, they all looked around and were like, ‘OK, what do we do now?'” Eshelman said. “We still had like 20 minutes left. We kept fighting and kept fighting, and I told them to take more chances offensively.
“That’s how the next two goals were scored. We were trying to get a goal and didn’t get back on defense as quickly as we should’ve, and they got through.”
Katie McMenamin scored back-to-back goals – both off assists from Lea Maxwell – to give Peak to Peak a commanding 5-1 advantage.
King scored a second goal down the stretch, but the Longhorns could pull no closer.
Basalt has not made it out of the second round since 2007.
Basalt’s second playoff appearance in program history unfolded much like its first: an early lead but a lopsided loss.
The 30th-seeded Longhorns pushed across the first run in Saturday’s 3A state playoff opener against No. 3 Bennett and found themselves in a tie game midway through the third inning.
Defensive miscues caught up with the underdogs from there, however, as the Tigers pulled out an 11-1 victory in a game shortened to six innings because of the mercy rule.
“It was a very beatable team,” Basalt head coach Mike Hoffman said. “We were glad to get to the playoffs, but it would’ve been nice to take it one step further, especially because we knew we could.”
Kyp Schoon produced a RBI single in the top of the first, driving in Kenny Resch with the game’s first run. Schoon followed that up by retiring Bennett in order in the bottom of the inning.
The Tigers pushed across one run in the second to square the game, then took advantage of a fielding miscue to pull ahead for good in the third inning; a Longhorns outfielder misplayed a fly ball, allowing two runs to score.
Bennett, which generated just five hits off Schoon, benefited from five Basalt errors that yielded six unearned runs.
“[Catcher] Scotty [Hoffman] and Kyp were doing an awesome job. Kyp pitched great and those guys could not figure him out,” coach Hoffman said. “Going into the fourth inning, we were still feeling pretty good.”
The Longhorns (6-13), who trailed, 4-1, after three, appeared primed to cut into that deficit after Spencer Glasener’s double in the fourth. The ensuing two batters popped out to second and struck out, however, quelling the threat.
The Tigers (17-3), meanwhile, continued to pad their lead with two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.
Basalt’s somewhat stagnant offense could not keep pace. The Longhorns finished with six hits, two of which came from Resch.
Bennett booked its trip to the second round with three runs in the sixth inning, ousting a Longhorns squad that entered tournament play fresh off three straight wins.
After battling a seemingly never-ending string of injuries, Basalt distance runner Conner Roper is healthy, coach Ron Lund said.
The senior sure looked like it at Friday and Saturday’s 3A Western Slope League Championships in Grand Junction. Roper anchored a Longhorns 4 x 800 relay that finished fifth in 8 minutes, 44 seconds, then returned some three hours later to take second in the mile, crossing the line in 4:34.55 – besting his previous school record by about a half second.
He finished things off by setting another school record in the 800, where he finished second again in 1:58.45.
“It’s safe to say he’s having no problems going into state this year,” Lund said. “He’s very happy. That 1,600 was beautiful. That kid that out-kicked him [Bryce Johnston of Gunnison] on both of those races has the fastest time in the 800 in all of 3A.”
Roper’s finishes highlighted what was a strong meet for the local teams. Here are some of the highlights:
• Aspen’s 4 x 800 team of Luke Smith, Madison Coia, Kellen Kremer and Robbie George likely solidified a state-qualifying spot with a third-place finish and a 10-second personal best time of 8:34.47.
In addition, Kremer was seventh in the mile and George took sixth in the 800.
• The Longhorns’ Giulio del Piccolo wound up second in the 3,200 with a time of 10:33. Teammate Jacob Besser was fifth while Aspen’s Smith and Keegan Swirbul wound up fourth and sixth, respectively.
• The Skiers’ Riley Sutton finished third in both the 3,200 and the mile.
• Teammate Taylor Quist was fifth in the 400, sixth in the 200 and eighth in the 100.
• Basalt’s Rebecca Chouteau finished fourth in the discus.
• Longhorns teammate Kerry Reynolds took sixth in the 110 high hurdles, while Sam Morrison took seventh in the both 100 and the long jump.
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