‘Horns face stingy Sun Devils in quarterfinals
You have to score goals to win.
The Basalt Longhorns soccer team has been adept at doing just that this season, averaging almost 3.4 goals per game. Today’s opponent, however, is stingier than most when it comes to allowing the ball behind the goaltender.
Fifth-seed Basalt (12-3-1) faces fourth-seed Kent Denver (14-3) at 3:30 p.m. today at Kent Denver High School in the quarterfinal round of the Class 3A boys’ state soccer playoffs.
Figuring out the key to Kent’s defensive prowess, will be essential if the Longhorns wish to advance to the semifinals for the second-consecutive year.
The Sun Devils have allowed just eight goals over 17 regular-season and playoff games this year. They enter today’s contest with a shutout streak of four games and have a total of 11 shutouts this season.
The Longhorns should be bolstered by the return of senior starters Brady Kahn and Ryan Thompson, who sat out last week’s 3-0 playoff victory over Middle Park after each received his third yellow card of the year in the regular-season finale.
Thompson is Basalt’s second-ranked scorer with 10 goals, while Kahn has nine this season. Spencer Cleveland scored two goals against Middle Park to add to his team-high total for 15 on the year.
Josh Shipman leads Kent offensively with 10 goals, followed by Chase Lochmiller and Alex Pritzlaff with nine and eight, respectively.
The Sun Devils, who play in the Metro League, advanced to the quarterfinals with a 8-0 win over James Irwin in the regionals and a 5-0 victory over Denver Christian last weekend in the round of 16.
Both teams earned a shutout over Middle Park this year, and other common opponents include Faith Christian and Holy Family.
Kent lost to both Faith Christian and Holy Family by margins of 2-0 and 2-1, respectively. Basalt beat Faith Christian 3-1, but fell to Holy Family 6-1 in the season-opener.
The winner of today’s game faces the winner of the Holy Family-Salida game in the semifinals. The semifinal matches must be completed by Nov. 1.
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