Basalt soccer falters in state quarterfinals | AspenTimes.com

Basalt soccer falters in state quarterfinals

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. – Basalt head soccer coach John McDermott did not expect the season to end like this.

Not after the senior-laden Longhorns shook off some uncharacteristic early-season struggles and cruised to a second 3A Region 7 title in the last three seasons. Not after they logged two impressive state tournament wins in five days to book a sixth consecutive trip to the quarterfinals.

Reality hit hard Thursday. For 80 frustrating minutes, McDermott watched from the Highlands Ranch Stadium sidelines as sixth-seeded Basalt struggled to keep pace with third-seeded Denver Christian. The Longhorns appeared overmatched, McDermott admitted, and wound up falling to the Crusaders, 4-1.

“We were terrible,” the coach said. “We were so sluggish. … We just didn’t have it.”

Basalt (13-4-1) controlled the game the last time these two squads met, on Sept. 5, and pulled off a 2-1 upset of then No. 2 Denver Christian. This time around, McDermott said he could sense early on that things were going to be different.

“You could tell right from the kickoff – it was like a disease or something,” he added. “Maybe it was tiredness from [Tuesday’s win against Weld Central] or driving down the same morning. … We just didn’t show up.”

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The Longhorns struck first during a seesaw first 40 minutes, when German exchange student Lukas Dilling headed home a well-placed cross midway through the half.

The lead was short-lived, however, as the Crusaders (14-2-2) squared the match five minutes before the break. They blew things open with three goals in the second half.

McDermott tried switching lineups and moving players around. Nothing could quell Denver Christian’s momentum, he said. An injury to senior Omar Lopez, who was hobbling on a sore ankle for much of the second half, compounded matters.

“They just controlled things. We couldn’t get anything going,” McDermott said.

“We had chances, it just didn’t go like it has been going. A couple people got despondent over it … and that picks up speed and spreads to the whole team.”

Consequently, Basalt’s 11-game win streak was snapped. The Longhorns were denied a berth in the semifinals for a fourth consecutive season.

Now, with the bulk of their roster graduating, the program faces an uncertain future.

“I think we’ll get back to not as high a level as this year … it depends on who comes out next year,” McDermott said.

“We had a good season. This is just embarrassing.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com