Titans upset by Longhorns in OT battle
In a physical matchup between two 3A Western Slope League foes, the Basalt Longhorns upset the host Coal Ridge Titans 3-2 in overtime on a penalty kick by senior Callahan Card at “The Pasture” in New Castle Tuesday afternoon.
Card was able to beat a diving Alexys Holder late in the first overtime following a penalty in the box on Coal Ridge sophomore defender Adrianna Vargas. Card’s goal via penalty kick knocked the Titans from the unbeaten ranks in league play, pushing them into second place as Basalt and Vail Mountain sit on top of the league with undefeated marks.
“Today is what happens when you let teams hang around,” Coal Ridge Head Coach Damon Martinez said. “I figured at some point if we kept playing it close it would catch up to us. But even in this game we had our chances, and we just didn’t take advantage today. It doesn’t feel good for our kids, especially Adrianna and Alexys, but you can’t let teams hang around.”
Against the Longhorns, Coal Ridge controlled possession for much of the game, but Basalt struck first on a fluky goal at the 35:43 mark of the first half as freshman forward Taylor Glen skipped a bouncing shot past Coal Ridge sophomore goalie Annie Esgar to give the Longhorns an early 1-0 lead.
Fortunately for the Titans, they’d bounce back in a big way, applying tons of offensive pressure on the Basalt goal.
Senior midfielder Nicole Mooney missed just high off of a free kick from a few yards outside of the box, skimming just over the crossbar, before a handball in the box on Basalt moments later set up a penalty kick for junior midfielder Sam Dunn.
Dunn buried her penalty kick into the bottom right corner of the net past a diving Kate Schrock to tie the game at 1-1.
Roughly five minutes later Dunn had two point-blank shots in the box on Schrock, but the Basalt senior stood tall in net, knocking both shots away to keep the game tied at 1-1.
With chances continuing to mount for the Titans, Basalt finally cleared the ball away, leading to a 30-yard blast from freshman Caitlin Coon that soared right past the outstretched arms of Esgar in the Coal Ridge net at the 18:47 mark, giving the Longhorns a big 2-1 lead.
Turning the pressure up once again, the Titans found themselves with an opportunity on a corner kick, where Mooney’s ball found the head of junior defender Paige Harlow. On the header attempt, Harlow missed just wide of the net, but minutes later, just before the half, junior forward Santana Martinez found junior wing Emily Wright off of a mad scramble in the box, where Wright buried a shot from in close into the upper right corner of the net, knotting the game up at 2-2, which remained the score as the two teams headed into the half.
Following the 10-minute break to regroup and refresh, the Titans came out for the second half with a bounce in their step, but each time the veteran group would get a good look, they just couldn’t finish the deal.
Early in the second half, Wright tried to return the favor to Martinez, finding the forward streaking into the box unmarked, but Martinez’s header attempt flew just over the crossbar, marking another missed opportunity for the Titans in a frustrating game full of them.
Ten minutes later senior forward Kaitlyn Harlow found herself behind the Basalt defense along the right wing on a long run, but the senior’s strike missed just to the right of the goal, allowing the Longhorns to breathe another sigh of relief.
From that point on, the game was mostly back-and-forth before overtime, where the Longhorns would push the pace early in the extra session.
Fortunately for the Titans, Holder — who came on for Esgar in the first half — came up with some big stops on free kicks, allowing the Titans to regroup and push up the field offensively. Then, in a bizarre situation, Harlow made a great run down the right wing, but the play was abruptly stopped with the Titans maintaining possession due to Harlow having blood on her leg from a cleat mark. Harlow was then forced to come off the field, before the Titans took a free kick from well outside of the box that Schrock stopped with ease, ending what could have been a great opportunity for the Titans to win the game.
After the fiasco with Harlow and the stoppage, Basalt possessed the ball back down the field before freshman McKinley Braun drew the penalty in the box on Vargas, setting up Card’s heroics, knocking the Titans off on their home field.
“I told the girls that they did battle, but that I hope this burns a little,” Martinez said. “I hope it burns so that this lights a fire under them so that they come out for the rest of the season just ready to kick a little bit. We can’t let teams hang around like that. We have played tough teams, and we have played a tough schedule, but we can’t let this happen. I felt we had a lot of opportunities today, and we just didn’t finish.”
With the loss, Coal Ridge falls to 5-3, 3-1 3A WSL on the year, while Basalt improves to 5-2, 3-0 3A WSL.
The Titans will travel to Rangely Thursday afternoon, while the Longhorns will travel to Grand Valley Thursday afternoon.