Basalt survives unexpected scare from visiting Oysters |

Basalt survives unexpected scare from visiting Oysters

Jon Maletz

Paul Conrad/The Aspen TimesBasalt senior David Rosales has the ball stolen from him by a CRMS defender at Basalt Saturday morning. The Longhorns defeated the visiting Oysters, 2-1.

Basalt soccer coach Erik Streff was banking on his Longhorns delivering a strong performance Saturday following yet another difficult loss at Salida.Despite defeating Colorado Rocky Mountain School 2-1, however, Basalt looked like anything but the Slope favorite in its final tuneup before Tuesday’s much-anticipated conference clash with Aspen.”We had a lot of good opportunities near the goal, but couldn’t capitalize, which is a little frustrating,” Streff said. “I definitely thought they would come out hungrier. I expected more effort.”The mistakes that cost the Longhorns in a 2-0 loss to defending 3A champion Salida Thursday reappeared Saturday. With senior and four-year starter Felipe Sanchez watching from the sideline because of back pain, the Longhorns were sloppy on offense. Basalt routinely let shot attempts from point-blank range slide over the crossbar or wide in both directions. The Longhorns were able to push a goal across in the 27th minute of the first half when Dennis Morgan headed a deflection off the crossbar past a group of Oysters’ defenders.Early in the second, Basalt senior forward Alex Giglio controlled a crossing pass, beating his defender and CRMS goalie Reid Johns for a breakaway goal to stretch the lead to two.The Longhorns, however, were consistently slow to center the ball and were hesitant to make any decisions against a tightly packed CRMS defense. They lacked energy and urgency. Streff’s actions said it all when, for much of the second half, he sat on the grass with arms wrapped around his knees, a pair of sunglasses concealing his frustration.

“I credit CRMS because they pushed us hard and played well,” Streff said. “We have been having problems scoring in big games.” Following Thursday’s game against Aspen in which CRMS lost stopper Phil Barrett and Chris Sellers, what the Oysters lacked in depth they made up for with effort. Barrett severely sprained his ankle and Sellers suffered a concussion following a head-on-collision with Skiers sweeper Henry Cote.”We all heard that Chris was doing well, and that was a relief,” senior Conor Bottomly said. “We played very well.”CRMS focused the majority of its energy on slowing the Basalt attack by crowding the space around the goal. The Oysters waited patiently for their opportunity to attack on offense. The Oysters vested a lot of trust in Johns, and he delivered. Johns slid fearlessly into traffic to contest loose balls. He thwarted Longhorns’ scoring opportunities with acrobatic diving saves. Against a Basalt offense that seemed to be on CRMS’ side of the field the entire game, Johns kept his team in the game.The Oysters took advantage of one of their few opportunities late in the second when Bottomly passed the ball ahead to Phillip Schwedhelm who beat his defender and hit the back of the net with a powerful shot, pulling the Oysters to within one.Had Basalt goalie Jamie Winkler not made a diving save on a ball kicked by Bottomly early in the second, CRMS may have had a chance to spring an upset.

If there is such thing as a moral victory, Oysters head coach A.O. Forbes said his team earned it.”We usually come in here and get hammered, but today we had a plan and followed it,” Forbes said. “This game was a delight for me considering what we’ve been through lately.”Basalt volleyball starts new streakFootage from Saturday’s match between Basalt and Roaring Fork will not be used in a volleyball instructional video anytime soon. But judging by the smile on Basalt coach Dan Drozd’s face, he and his Longhorns sure will take the result, a 3-0 win against Roaring Fork. Following a two-day stretch in which Basalt went 0-2 against Battle Mountain and Gunnison Sept. 8 and 9, The Longhorns (6-3, 2-1) have rebounded with consecutive wins, both against conference foes. “We’re progressing big time,” Drozd said. “We talked, we communicated and had intensity throughout the entire match. We made some mistakes, but hopefully we can build on this.”

The Longhorns battled through sluggish play early to close out the 25-23 game 1 victory on a kill up the middle by junior Bailey Holmes. In game two, Basalt struggled with its service game and saw many passing shots go wide, helping the Rams stay close. With the score tied at 15, the Longhorns turned up the pressure, finishing out the game on a 10-4 run to stretch their lead to 2-0. Following a well-placed ace by freshman Shelby Holmes, junior Cassie Meyer closed out the game with consecutive kills that slid past a wall of Rams’ defenders. With Bailey Holmes back from injury to sure up the middle of the court, the Longhorns showcased a much-improved and more mobile defense. Basalt contested Roaring Fork’s kill attempts at the net, and dove all over the court to keep balls in play. Movement and communication, once glaring concerns, had now become strengths.”She brings a whole different energy to the court,” junior Elizabeth Nemiec said of Bailey. “Our offense is finally clicking, and the team has really stepped it up. It is the best feeling when you win.”Down seven late in game 3, Roaring Fork mounted a charge, pulling to within three at 19-16. Following a time-out by Drozd to calm Basalt down, the Longhorns closed out the game with a 6-1 run to win 25-17. “Every win in this conference is a step in the right direction,” Drozd said. “We need to improve our serving and keep working on finding where we need to be on the court, but we are making great strides.”Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is

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