Aspen soccer readies for states with rout of Basalt
The Aspen High varsity boys soccer team capped off a Class 3A Western Slope League championship season yesterday with a crushing 9-0 victory over rival Basalt.
“We wanted to finish strong and we did,” said Aspen midfielder David Blumentritt, who scored three goals and notched two assists yesterday.
With a 3-1 win over the Vail Mountain School Saturday, Aspen (9-1 in league play) clinched its third Class 3A Western Slope League title in four years and another berth to the first round of the state tournament, which begins Saturday.
In all likelihood, Aspen will be seeded high enough to play its first tournament game at home Saturday, though the bracket won’t be finalized until Thursday.
For Basalt, yesterday’s defeat shut the team out of a possible return to the postseason.
“These guys wanted it,” Aspen coach Grant “Junior” Sutherland said after yesterday’s rout of Basalt. “For the seniors, this was it and they wanted to go out winners. We played well as a team, battled hard and the goals came.”
Senior co-captain Carter Hansen broke the ice for Aspen in the eighth minute, driving a one-timer past Basalt goalie Drew Fuller off a through ball from back Nick Farrell. Aspen junior defender Jeff Brence scored Aspen’s second goal – and his first of four on the day – in the 15th minute, heading in a corner kick cross from midfielder Jeff Flack. Less than a minute later, Brence tallied his second score, booting home a cross from attacker Phil Salazar.
David Blumentritt figured into the action in the 24th minute when he dribbled by at least three Basalt defenders and then beat Fuller on a low-angle shot to put Aspen up 4-0 at the half.
In the second half, Blumentritt added two more goals, while Salazar and Reid Hansen also factored into the scoring binge.
“I think we played very well,” Blumentritt said. “We tried to pass a lot and there were some wonderful goals.”
Aspen’s defensive corps – Brence, Farrell, Spencer Purvis, Matt Stege and co-captain Duncan Delano – played “outstanding” in the words of coach Sutherland.
“Duncan has been a real leader for us all season,” Sutherland said, “and Stege and Spencer have made a huge difference defensively.
“It’s good for your confidence, winning 9-0 [yesterday] and winning the league with a 3-1 win over Vail, a team that’s been playing well all year,” he said.
“Winning the league this year is special,” Sutherland continued, “because we thought this might be a rebuilding year. But we worked hard and now everything’s starting to come together at the right time.”
Basalt coach John Eaton credited the Aspen team for playing well all season, yesterday included.
“Aspen played very well,” he said. “They marked up well, they hit the open man, they ran a lot of give-and-gos and they shot well – they’re ready to play.
“Our guys were flat and they weren’t,” Eaton continued. “I wish ’em luck – they showed up and played well all year. They deserved to win the league.”
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