D’Evelyn stops Basalt’s playoff push | AspenTimes.com

D’Evelyn stops Basalt’s playoff push

Tim Mutrie
Aspen Times Staff Writer

D'Evelyn HS Tiffany Ecker (49) and Basalt's Molly McGrath (1) battle for possession during playoff action at Basalt High School Monday afternoon May 13, 2002. Basalt lost 5-4 in a shoot out after two 15 minute overtime periods to be knocked out of contention for the state title. Kelley Cox photo

Two bulldog goals from junior Mariah Mulcahy, hard-nosed defense from seniors Stephanie Kemp and Christy Thompson and a career-best performance from sophomore goalie Autumn Caughern couldn’t prevent the heartbreak Monday afternoon in Basalt.

After battling through 80 minutes of regulation and two 15-minute overtime periods that resulted in a 2-2 stalemate with No. 7 D’Evelyn, No. 2 Basalt’s storybook season ended in the deciding shootout, 5-4.

Basalt concludes its season at 14-2, while the Denver-area D’Evelyn, now 12-4-1, advances to the final four of the Class 3A state playoffs.

“Losing like this, it feels like it’s not real,” Basalt coach Heather Walker sighed after the two-and-a-half-hour match. “We finally got it together and played well against a team from Denver. There’s nothing to be sorry about, but it’s tough to take.”

In the shootout, the first four shooters from Basalt and D’Evelyn converted goals, pushing the match to the fifth and final shooter from each team. Going first, Basalt’s Thompson struck a shot at the lower right corner, but a diving Amanda Broadbent made the crucial save.

D’Evelyn captain Katie Long then stepped to the line with the game in the balance. A goal would seal victory, a miss or a save would push the shootout to another round of five. And Long’s offering beat an outstretched Caughern to the lower left corner, igniting a celebration for D’Evelyn and tears for Basalt.

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“That’s the toughest way to lose,” said Mulcahy. “We played our hearts out and then it comes down to a shootout and whoever makes a mistake, it’s over for them.

“We gave 110 percent on the field and we showed how much we wanted it,” the junior striker continued. “It’s tough to end like this.”

Phil Vigil, the D’Evelyn coach who has guided his team to the 3A final four for three straight years, conceded that the outcome easily could have been different.

“That’s a heck of a way to lose a game,” he said. “Both teams were very even and both teams were going for the win. I certainly respect these Basalt players. They play great soccer.

“That was a good soccer game,” Vigil continued. “I would’ve felt good going home either way.”

The game pitted two different styles of soccer: D’Evelyn’s possession-oriented passing game vs. the quick-hitting opportunism and stay-at-home defense of Basalt.

Basalt took a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute when a D’Evelyn pass-back was botched by a crashing Mulcahy and senior Molly McGrath. The two managed to drive the ball forward through traffic, and Mulcahy touched the ball toward the left post and past charging D’Evelyn goalie Broadbent.

In the 28th minute, D’Evelyn answered with a 35-yard missile from midfielder Allison Schmitt. Working comfortably inside the Basalt end with controlled short-range passes, Schmitt had time to blister a shot that squeezed between Caughern’s outstretched mitt and the crossbar to tie the game.

In the final minute before halftime, D’Evelyn took a 2-1 lead on a Jessica Proett goal. Proett dribbled in tight to the end line, then worked her way back toward the goal, beating Basalt defenders on the way and stuffing the ball in the net on a low-angle shot past Caughern.

After halftime, Basalt tied the game in the 53rd minute on a pretty combination that started with Caughern in the Basalt end. Caughern’s clearing kick was corralled on the run by McGrath near midfield, and she connected with a one-time pass to Mulcahy streaking down the left wing. Mulcahy and Broadbent met in the air near the top of the goalie box, and Mulcahy won the battle, getting enough of her head on the ball to redirect it into the unattended net to tie the game.

For the remainder of regulation and 30 minutes of overtime, Caughern and the Basalt defensive corps of senior Natalie Hood, sophomore Brittany Pollock, junior Makenzie Holmes and the senior stopper-sweeper combination of Thompson and Kemp – who combined to save at least four goals with heady play in tight – kept the Basalt dream alive down the stretch and inevitably forced the shootout.

“Today was the first day I felt ready to come out and play soccer,” Caughern said. “This was my first year – I was never into soccer much before – but today I was pumped up for it.

“Everyone played really hard,” she continued. “The defense was so tough, and we took advantage of opportunities up front, but it just didn’t work out. You think of things you could do differently, but that doesn’t do you any good.”

Aspen at Denver Christian

After upsetting No. 6 Academy of Charter 1-0 in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs, No. 11 Aspen earned a final-eight game against No. 3 Denver Christian.

Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. today at Denver Christian.

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