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Horns march toward match with Skiers

Dale Strode

The march to the soccer showdown continues.

The Basalt Longhorns did their part to set up the soccer shootout. Now it’s up to the Aspen Skiers.

Basalt’s girls overwhelmed Colorado Rocky Mountain School 9-1 last week and then dispatched Class 4A Glenwood Springs 4-0 on Saturday to move closer to Thursday’s highly anticipated match against rival Aspen – a contest that likely will determine the champion of the 3A Western Slope League.

The Skiers have one nonleague match remaining before Thursday’s conference showdown. On Tuesday, Aspen will play Roaring Fork in Carbondale as a warmup for Thursday’s league match against the Horns – scheduled for 4 p.m. at the Aspen School District field.

“We were looking for a good warmup for Thursday,” Basalt first-year coach Heather Walker said of Saturday’s 4-0 shutout of Glenwood Springs. “We were looking forward to playing a good team like Glenwood. They’re a great passing team with good teamwork.”

She said the match was a good, solid, hard-fought contest … and a good clean match, particularly because the Basalt and Glenwood girls are familiar with each other from summer club play.

Walker said the Longhorns were almost caught by surprise in Saturday’s match against Glenwood at the Gates Soccer Park at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley Campus. The Horns were expecting the varsity match to start at 1 p.m.

However, the schedule called for an 11 a.m. start and the Basalt varsity had to gear up quickly for the match.

“But I think they were pretty focused when they went out on the field,” Walker said.

And they started quickly, with a goal barely one minute into the match. That set the tone for the rest of the match. Quick goal Basalt’s first offensive possession yielded a through ball right down the middle of the Glenwood defense. Megan Macuen collected the pass and finessed an uncontested shot into the Demon net for a quick 1-0 lead.

The Longhorns extended their offensive pressure and Molly McGrath made it 2-0 after she converted a crossing pass into a goal 24 minutes into the first half.

Four minutes later, McGrath scored her second goal of the match when she nailed a rebound of her own shot.

The 3-0 lead held at halftime.

And in the second half, Basalt added a goal by Stephanie Kemp on a tough angle shot from the right side – just four minutes in.

From there the match was scoreless as Basalt won 4-0 to improve to 12-1-0 on the year. The Longhorns’ only loss came on the road at defending 4A state champion ThunderRidge. Basalt shutout The shutout was goalkeeper Tera Kielmeyer’s fourth of the season.

“Basalt is a really solid team,” said veteran Glenwood Springs coach Steve White. “They take advantage of situations. We wish them well; we hope they do well; it’s great to have them represent the valley.” Big win over CRMS Saturday’s nonconference victory followed an impressive 9-1 win over CRMS in a league match last week.

McGrath broke free for five goals against the Pearls and Macuen scored twice.

Ambere Cunningham and Jessie Holmes added single goals for Basalt.

Assists went to Cunningham, Macuen, McGrath, Sarah Barr, Lauren Vagneur and Kemp.

Aspen enters this week’s play coming off a high-scoring win last week as well. The Skiers traveled to Gypsum and blasted Eagle Valley 8-2.

The Skiers picked up four goals from Ellen Falender and one each from Lacee Patterson, Amber Matthews, Paige Elisha and Sasha Anastas on the way to a 5-0 halftime lead and the big 8-2 win.

The win was Aspen’s third straight as the Skiers improved to 5-5-1 after a sluggish start this season. The Skiers, like the Horns, are unbeaten in league play.

Offensively, the Skiers are on a roll with a 20-4 scoring advantage in their last three matches.

A big crowd is expected Thursday in Aspen when the Longhorns and the Skiers play.


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