Basalt prevails in soccer battle with Coal Ridge | PostIndependent.com
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Basalt prevails in soccer battle with Coal Ridge

Jon Maletz
Aspen Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad The Aspen Times
ALL |

BASALT, Colorado ” Lethargic, but victorious. Basalt will surely take it.

Longhorn sweeper Marshall Cleveland bailed out his keeper, and Basalt, with a sliding clear mere inches from the goal line in the 24th minute, then Johnny Diaz connected with Kenny Reyes for a 54th minute goal to break a scoreless tie.

While they lacked their usual punch on both sides of the ball, the Longhorns survived a late Titans push to prevail, 1-0.



Moments after the final whistle, Basalt coach John McDermott shook hands with one of his assistants, then flashed a relieved grin.

“We played down to their level today,” McDermott said. “I’m thankful we came out with three points. We need a bit of a spark of offense.”



They needed just one score to triumph on this day. After a first half replete with scoring chances and missed opportunities, the Longhorns (4-3-2 overall, 4-0-2 Region 7) finally made one of their open looks count in the 54th minute.

Diaz shook free on an abbreviated run up the middle of the pitch, then eyed Reyes charging past a defender and toward the far post. Diaz led Reyes with a well-placed lob, and Reyes slid to boot the ball past a diving Darwin Cortez.

Cortez replaced Coal Ridge starting goalkeeper Victor Hernandez in the 30th minute. Hernandez collided with Basalt forward Austin Long while chasing after a loose ball and took a forearm to the side of the head.

“We got one in and that really took the weight off our shoulders,” Cleveland said. “I definitely think we got pretty lucky.”

That good fortune was on full display during a furious final 20 minutes in which the Titans took aim on Longhorns goalkeeper Scott Riggins. After two corner kicks and a free kick from 40 yards out went awry, Cortez gave Coal Ridge (2-8-0 overall, 1-6-0 Region 7) its best look at an equalizer with 4 minutes, 30 seconds to play. The senior, who was replaced in goal by Arrick Peck in the waning minutes, uncorked a powerful shot from about 30 yards out that tumbled mere inches outside the far post.

Two minutes later, the Titans’ J.J. Riddile seemingly had an opening as he chased down a booming goal kick deep in Basalt’s end, but Longhorns senior Craig Riggins rapidly closed and knocked the ball out of play.

“When you play that well and can’t seem to find the goal, the coach has got to accept that,” Coal Ridge head coach Brian Blair said. “We built those chances. That’s all you can ask for.”


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