Basalt wins fifth consecutive Slope title | AspenTimes.com

Basalt wins fifth consecutive Slope title

Chris FreudVail correspondent

Vail Mountain's Tucker Shelden and Basalt's Brett Boyle, front, collide as they both attempt to put their heads on the ball Thursday in Vail. The Longhorns beat the Gore Rangers, 2-0, to win their fifth consecutive 3A Western Slope title. (Preston Utley/Vail Daily)

EAST VAIL – Back to back to back to back to back.Oh, life gets so dull and repetitive for Basalt soccer. The Longhorns came to East Vail Thursday and knocked off Vail Mountain, 2-0, for their fifth straight 3A Western Slope title.OK, maybe it’s not so boring after all.”Winning never gets boring,” said Basalt senior forward Alex Giglio, who scored his team’s second goal. “I love winning. It’s awesome. It’s pretty crazy winning five straight league titles. Great team. Great coach.””It’s very cool for all these guys, the same with the guys last year,” Basalt coach Erik Streff said. “I think they learned a lot just from the last three years. We’ve had top players in the state. Each senior teaches the freshmen and sophomores and juniors who come in. They work hard for it.”

With the title, Basalt (11-2, 9-0) receives a bye through the state seeding round and the guarantee of a home game in the first round of the playoffs.”They’re good soccer players,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “They strike a balance between finesse and very aggressive play. I will tell you it elevates our game. I’d like to play a team like Basalt every week because it just makes us better.”Though the game was much more competitive than the first meeting between the two teams last month – a 7-1 Longhorns win – Basalt was pretty much in the driver’s seat Thursday.David Rosales scored in the fifth minute on a helper from Trevor Brown for what would be the game-winner. “I see the hop, and then I score,” Rosales said. “I just didn’t think. It was instinct. It helped a lot to make good passes, but it was hard. They’re a good team.”

Basalt dictated the tempo in the first half, but VMS did have its chances in the second half.”Good soccer game,” Bandoni said. “We came in telling ourselves, especially after our last result, that we had to ensure that we took care of certain things on the field. One was we really thought that we had let down in the midfield the last couple of games, especially with our organization.”Nevertheless, Giglio added some insurance late in the second half.”It was a great play by Felipe [Sanchez] to get it down there,” Giglio said. “Then, I was there to clean up the trash. A goal’s a goal.”Basalt is in, but the Longhorns want to finish well with an eye toward a high seed. Basalt is at Middle Park at 1 p.m. Saturday and finishes its season with a tilt at archrival Aspen next week.

“We’ve got to look at it a game at a time,” Streff said. “We still have two games left, so it depends on those two games. Hopefully, we’ll get a high seed.”Meanwhile, the Gore Rangers (6-6-1, 3-4-1,) have their work cut out for them to nab the league’s third spot and wear their coveted orange postseason jerseys. VMS needs a win Saturday at Aspen and a victory over hapless Paonia next week to pass Colorado Rocky Mountain School for its uniforms to change color.”Bob always puts a tough team on the field,” Streff said. “They’re young. They’ve learned from throughout the season. It just gets better and better for them. Hopefully, they’ll pull it out and make a playoff run as well.”Chris Freud’s e-mail is cfreud@vaildaily.com