Basalt set for state challenge
The Basalt Longhorns girls soccer team hasn’t been challenged much this season by Class 3A teams. That’s likely to change come Saturday.
The Longhorns, who went undefeated against 3A teams this season and won the Western Slope League title, play their first-round state tournament game at Basalt High School against Trinidad of the Tri-Peaks League Saturday at 10 a.m.
Basalt (11-2-1) enters the tournament as the No. 5 seed, while Trinidad (11-1-1) is the No. 12. With the teams being so close in terms of records, Basalt head coach Heather Walker is happy to have the edge of playing at home.
“I think it’s an advantage, because the other team has to drive nine hours on a school bus,” Walker said. “I’m just happy not to have to drive, and hopefully we’ll have a lot of fans.”
Basalt rolled through its 3A schedule. Eagle Valley, which Basalt tied and beat 3-1, is the only 3A team to play Basalt closer than three goals this season. The Longhorns two losses came against Class 5A Grand Junction Central and 4A Montrose.
The Miners’ only loss came to Tri-Peaks champion and No. 2 state seed Fountain Valley. Trinidad also tied league foe Manitou Springs.
Neither team has had a problem scoring goals this season, but Basalt has the decided advantage on paper. The Longhorns average over five goals per game, while Trinidad nets around 3.7 per game.
Basalt’s Ashley Eaton is ranked first on the Rocky Mountain News 3A scoring list with 24 goals, 19 assists. Teammate Ukare Sano is also high on the list with 19 goals and five assists.
Trinidad will likely keep a close eye on the two snipers, which is fine with Walker.
“We have a lot of people up front and on the wings who can score if another team marks Ashley or Ukare,” Walker said. “There are four or five other girls who can step up and score.”
Samantha Hoffman enters the contest with three goals and 11 assists and Mariah Mulcahy has nine goals and two assists on the season.
The winner of Saturday’s game faces the winner of the contest between No. 4 Denver Christian and No. 13 Saint Mary’s High School on either Monday or Tuesday.
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When Basalt High School seniors celebrate their graduation in May, they may not be the only stars of the show.