Basalt soccer dominates Hotchkiss | AspenTimes.com

Basalt soccer dominates Hotchkiss

Jim Ryan contributed photoLonghorns junior Lukas Dilling collides with Hotchkiss' goalkeeper Saturday at Basalt High School.

BASALT – Basalt’s Lukas Dilling was not on the field when Hotchkiss clinched the 3A Western Slope title here last fall.

Still, the German exchange student helped Basalt deliver a heavy dose of payback against the reigning state champions Saturday. The junior scored three goals and assisted on two others, and the Longhorns crushed the Bulldogs, 8-0.

“I hadn’t scored here yet,” Dilling said. “We were all playing very good and fighting for each other. I got some good passes. … It was perfect.”

Few other words could do Basalt’s offensive explosion justice on this day. The Longhorns connected three times in the first half, but could have easily been ahead by five – or more.

Austin Long beat a defender and scored in the 14th minute. Little more than nine minutes later, Omar Lopez fired a great pass ahead to Dilling, who paused to gather himself before drilling the ball into the bottom left corner.

In the 34th minute, Dilling returned the favor, feeding Lopez in the Hotchkiss box for the easy score.

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The scoring barrage continued during the second half. Dilling sprinted up the left side, controlled a cross and fired a left-footed shot into the net. Three minutes later, Long beat a Bulldogs defender to the ball, turned and passed to David Gruenefeldt. After scores of missed chances, Gruenefeldt finally found the net, stretching the lead to five.

Dilling and Johny Diaz executed a perfect give-and-go in the 52nd minute, then, seven minutes later, Santiago Marciani one-timed a corner from Owen Bailey to pad the lead.

“I played the second half with my ‘B’ team. … Yeah, we played above the level of what this team is,” Basalt head coach John McDermott said. “[We haven’t reached our full potential] yet. They need to settle themselves a bit … and then we’ll be a machine.”

The Longhorns sure look like they’ve hit their stride. They’ve scored five or more goals four times, and have outscored opponents, 16-2, in their last three games.

Long finished a cross from Gruenefeldt in the 62nd minute, then the Longhorns (6-3-1 overall, 5-2 3A Western Slope) pulled one of their players at the urging of the Bulldogs coaching staff.

“We’re really good right now,” Dilling said. “We’ve got a lot of potential, and we’re using it.”

The Longhorns host rival Aspen at 4 p.m. Wednesday. They’ll visit Hotchkiss for Oct. 17’s regular-season finale.

jmaletz@aspentimes.com