Aspen boys soccer rallies to beat Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Aspen boys soccer rallies to beat Basalt

It had been a long time since the Aspen High School boys soccer team had played a game, so a slow start was maybe to be expected. It was the battle cry in the second half that sent the Skiers past rival Basalt on Thursday that stood out.

"It's always exciting when we play Basalt. I don't think it really matters what kind of form you come in to the game," AHS coach Dave Francis said. "They are always blood-and-guts games, it seems. It was great. We are 1-0 down and the boys sort of picked themselves up and got going."

Behind two quick goals, Aspen rallied to beat the Longhorns in Basalt, 2-1. It was Aspen's first game since its Aug. 18 season opener, a 6-0 win at Grand Valley. For Basalt, it was a tough loss to choke down considering the difficult start to its season.

"We are getting better, but I think these are games we have to win on our home field before we go play on turf, which we always have trouble with," BHS coach Brent Hayes said. "It's one of the more frustrating games I think I've been a part of, because I think we had done enough to win and then we lost our heads a little bit with somebody getting sent off, which is hard."

Scoreless at halftime, Basalt took a 1-0 lead after Gaby Bonilla scored less than five minutes into the second half, with an assist from Jack Curnow. The Longhorns slowly lost control of the game from there, especially after losing a player to a red card.

The Skiers tied the game when Nate Carricarte put in a rebound with about 22 minutes to play. The original shot by Wesley Ferrell went off the cross bar and the BHS goalie wasn't able to handle the wild deflection.

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"For a period of the game we really started to play with some confidence and combine well and create some chances," Francis said. "I thought through spells of the game they played really well. They showed their patterns and they showed their confidence. Their shape was good."

Aspen's game-winner came barely two minutes after Carricarte's goal. It was a strike by Henry Morrison with a touch under 20 minutes to play that put the Skiers ahead. Basalt was able to make a couple of offensive pushes late, but to no avail.

The non-league loss dropped the Longhorns to 1-4 overall. They were 0-3 before knocking off a ranked KIPP Denver team on Saturday. BHS is off until Thursday when it hosts Grand Junction.

"With our record, already our backs are against the wall," Hayes said. "We are kind of at a point, similar to last year, where we are going to have to rely purely on our league effort if we expect to be playing in late October. I'm still positive about the future, but this one is going to hurt for a little bit."

Aspen, now 2-0, will host Monarch at 10 a.m. on Saturday in its home opener. The Coyotes, a Class 5A school located just outside Boulder, are 2-1.

"That's a big step up for us," Francis said of playing a larger school. "That's a big challenge, but it will be on our field. Hopefully we'll see these guys put together more of what it is they've been working on."

acolbert@aspentimes.com