Pollock leads Longhorns into 3A quarterfinals
Junior winger Ben Pollock scored two pivotal goals and the Longhorn defense dealt a shutout as No. 2 seed Basalt put away No. 15 James Irwin of Colorado Springs 3-0 in the first round of the Class 3A boys soccer state tournament Wednesday afternoon at the BHS field.By Tim MutrieAspen Correspondent
Junior winger Ben Pollock scored two pivotal goals and the Longhorn defense dealt a shutout as No. 2 seed Basalt put away No. 15 James Irwin of Colorado Springs 3-0 in the first round of the Class 3A boys soccer state tournament Wednesday afternoon at the BHS field.Not the lopsided contest one might have expected between a favorite and an underdog, Pollock revved the Longhorn machine up to postseason form midway through the first half with two nifty (and similar) goals from tough angles along the James Irwin end line.Striker Felipe Sanchez added Basalt’s third goal late in the first half, and Basalt goalie Jamie Wirkler made his one save of the game a beauty with a diving stop of a free kick from just outside the goalie box in the second half.
With the victory, Basalt (14-1-1) advances to the quarterfinals against the winner of today’s No. 7 Peak to Peak vs. No. 10 Kent Denver match. Basalt will host that game, likely next Tuesday or Wednesday. James Irwin (8-6-2), meanwhile, is finished for the season.Basalt outshot James Irwin 17-to-1 over the course of 80 minutes and set the pace with deft, controlled passing, but the ‘Horns at times struggled to match James Irwin’s intensity, with the scoreless second half serving as a testament. Still, Basalt did not squander prime scoring chances, which is perhaps a better gauge of playoff readiness.”They were out to get us, and they wanted it bad,” Sanchez said. “And in the first couple of minutes, it scared the crap out of me. But we settled in, did our thing, and we came out victorious.”
“We’ve got to keep the intensity up the whole 80 minutes in order to beat top teams,” Sanchez continued, “because one bad moment, one bad phase, and top teams will put us out.”Pollock’s first goal came off a corner kick in the 17th minute. Center midfielder Cy Eaton served a cross over the penalty box, where winger Pollock collected it and fed stopper Jesse Schoeller in tight. But instead of wheeling and shooting, Schoeller passed back to Pollock, now with time and space to workIn the 32nd minute Pollock struck again from the end line after taking a pass from Schoeller. Pollock isolated a defender, promptly burned him and drove toward the net to force James Irwin goalie Curtis Watson to commit and charge. Pollock belted another tough angle shot just as Watson slid and took out his feet.”We came out a little nervous to begin with,” said Basalt head coach Erik Streff, “but they calmed down the last 30 minutes of the first half, I think in part because of Ben’s savvy play-making.””We came out a little nervous to begin with,” said Basalt head coach Erik Streff, “but they calmed down the last 30 minutes of the first half, I think in part because of Ben’s savvy play-making.”
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