Basalt nets five first teamers | AspenTimes.com

Basalt nets five first teamers

Nate Peterson

Basalt senior Trevor Brown, center, connects on a header in front of teammate Ryan Zubizarreta during a 4-1 win over visiting CRMS in October. (Aspen Times file)

With a new coach and nine new starters, Basalt’s boys soccer team was supposed to be rebuilding this fall. That line of thinking wasn’t acceptable for senior captains Ryan Zubizarreta and Trevor Brown, the two remaining starters from the 2005 team that advanced to the 3A semifinals.Following Brown and Zubizarreta’s lead, Basalt (12-4, 9-2-1) finished second in the 3A Western Slope behind Aspen and advanced all the way to the state quarterfinals before losing 1-0 to second-seeded Colorado Academy.And had not both senior captains been injured in the first half of that loss, Basalt might have advanced to the semifinals for the third time in three years.When all-league selections were released recently, it came as no surprise that opposing Western Slope coaches selected Zubizarreta and Brown to the first team.

For Zubizarreta, who led Basalt with 14 goals and 13 assists, it was his third-straight first-team nod. Brown earned the honor for the first time during his three seasons as a varsity starter.”It was one of my personal goals for the season,” said Brown, who was the Longhorns second leading scorer with 10 goals. “It feels nice to get it. It’s cool when other coaches around the league recognize you for being a good player.””It’s not a new experience for me, but it’s still pretty exciting I guess,” Zubizarreta added. “It’s nice to know that other coaches notice your play.”The Longhorns’ other three first-team selections went to defenders Paul McQueeney, Matt Whittier and Tyler Stevens.While they didn’t get as much press as their talented teammates up front, Basalt’s back row players allowed only 15 goals all season – an average of one a game – and earned seven shutouts. They allowed only three goals twice. “I think it’s really good that Tyler got it,” Zubizarreta said. “It’s the first year that he’s played varsity and he really stepped up. Matt was definitely one of our team leaders. When it came down to it, he kept everybody mentally fired up. He was there for inspiration.”

That Basalt meshed together so well as a team was a credit to first-year coach John McDermott.The native of Nottingham, England, brought new strategies to the practice field, but held his players to the same winning standard they had learned from former coach Erik Streff.McDermott currently is back in England and wasn’t available for comment.”All the seniors, we’ve all been together since fourth grade, but Trevor and I had played varsity for two years while the other guys had been on JV,” Zubizarreta said. “It was new playing with them this year. We finally all got reunited and got to play together one last time.”I just think there’s kind of a set standard at Basalt. There’s a tradition of winning and I don’t think anybody would want to be known as the team that lost all that.”In addition to the five first-team selections, Basalt’s Sal Cruz and Duncan McDaniel earned honorable mentions.

Cruz, a junior, played forward while Stevens teamed with McQueeney, Whittier and Stevens on defense. Whittier and Cruz are the only two players who will be back next season; Basalt loses eight seniors.”Going into the season, we obviously had a lot of doubters,” Brown said. “I think we had pretty good leadership. The guys who had played JV in previous years really stepped up. We took it farther than anybody thought we could go.”The only regret was the final game, Brown said. If he and Zubizarreta had been healthy, who knows what may have happened.”I think if one of us or both of us would have stayed in, we would have won that game,” said Brown, who left with a hip injury midway through the first half. “It’s hard not to regret that.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.comThe Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.