Skiers top Basalt 3-1 in season’s finale
EL JEBEL – Two of the top girls soccer teams in the Western Slope Conference went head to head Tuesday at Willits Field in El Jebel.
Aspen traveled to Willits Field to face valley rival Basalt, ranked sixth in the Class 3A polls. It was the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Longhorns entered the game leaders of the WSC at 5-0, while defending league champ Aspen came in at 4-1.
A win for Basalt would have given the Longhorns their first ever outright league title, but instead, the Longhorns will have to share the WSC title, as the Skiers came away with a 3-1 win.
Ellen Falender, Lacee Patterson and Ashley White all scored for the Skiers, who end the regular season at 5-1 in league play and 8-3 overall, in the win.
Ambere Cunningham scored the lone goal for the Longhorns, who also finished the season at 5-1 (8-3 overall).
The victory for Aspen forces a three-way tie for first place between Basalt, Aspen and Battle Mountain, which also finished the season at 5-1 in league play. Because of the three-way tie for first place, all three teams share the WSC title.
Allowing a league low nine goals in six games this year, Basalt wins the top seed for the Regional playoffs.
Aspen, which advanced to the quarterfinals of the Class 3A State Tournament last year before losing to Cheyenne Mountain, finished with 10 allowed goals and receives the second seed.
Battle Mountain (12 goals) is the WSC’s third seed.
Both Basalt and Aspen will host the first round of Regionals while the Huskies will travel.
Dates and times of all Regional games will be scheduled today by the Colorado High School Activities Association.
Falender, who leads the Skiers with 12 goals, left the game in the second half with a knee injury. She will be evaluated by doctors today to determine her playing status for the playoffs.
Aspen grabbed the lead seven minutes into the game as Falender tapped in a score off a pass from White in the box for the early 1-0 lead.
Eight minutes later, Aspen’s Natalie Soonthornswad was called for pushing in the box and Basalt was awarded a penalty kick; Cunningham sent a bullet past Aspen goalkeeper Kate Linehan.
With minutes remaining in the first half, White put Aspen ahead 2-1 after she stole a kick from Basalt’s goalie and lofted a shot in the net for the score.
In the second half, the two teams traded shots until Patterson scored her 11th goal of the season and sealed the victory for Aspen.
“This was a good game from both teams,” first-year Skier coach Kris Hattrup said. “We wanted to win the ball and get to the ball first.”
Basalt coach Pat Hartigan, who guided the Longhorns to their best season ever, said that even though it was a tough loss, “it was a great game.”
“This was more of a want win for us today,” he said. “It’s a drag for these girls, but they will get over it and I’m sure they will be very proud of what they’ve accomplished this year.”
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