Muddy good: Basalt bests CRMS | AspenTimes.com

Muddy good: Basalt bests CRMS

Nate Peterson

Basalt junior midfielder Mike Eaton meets a CRMS defender at the ball Tuesday during the Longhorns' 4-1 home win. (Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times)

All you need is mud.That, plus some frigid rain, lots of slipping and sliding, some exceptional goalie play and a number of missed scoring opportunities from the home team, and you’d have Tuesday’s soccer match at Basalt.In the rain, the Longhorns ground out a 4-1 win against visiting Colorado Rocky Mountain School to improve to 9-3-1 overall and take a step closer to the postseason.It wasn’t a pretty win.Basalt dominated play in both halves, but failed to finish numerous scoring runs with errant shots. The Longhorns started hot with two quick goals in the first eight minutes, then cooled off, failing to net another goal until the 50th minute.When the ‘Horns weren’t firing high or wide, they seemed to be aiming directly at CRMS keeper Ross Mohsenin, who came up with some huge saves to keep the game close into the second half.Longhorns sophomore midfielder Austin Johnson punched in the first goal in the fourth minute after senior forward Ryan Zubizarreta headed a crossing pass off the left post. Mohsenin dove to stop the header and was out of position for Johnson’s rebound.Zubizarreta assisted again in the eighth minute, slipping a pass between two CRMS defenders to a streaking Trevor Brown on the left, who then crossed up Mohsenin with a blast that sneaked inside the far post.Zubizarreta nearly had another assist in the 14th minute off a set kick from outside the goal box. He struck the ball perfectly to teammate Sal Cruz, who rose out of a pack of three for a header that sailed just over the crossbar. In the 17th minute, Zubizarreta launched another shot over the crossbar.”I think there were at least seven or eight really good chances that we couldn’t capitalize on in the first half,” Zubizarreta said. “But the important thing is that we won.”

Mohsenin’s biggest save came in the 20th minute when he and Basalt’s Marshall Cleveland charged on a loose ball in the box. Cleveland arrived first and drilled the ball directly into Mohsenin’s chest.

“[Mohsenin] made some pretty decent saves, but a lot of our shots missed the net,” Brown said. “He is a very good goalie.””Just coming out [of the goal] helped me a lot,” Mohsenin added. “You have to be aggressive against Basalt.” The cold rain arrived in the second half, making an already muddy surface even more slippery. On one run on goal, Brown dove for a header and ended up missing the ball before doing a belly flop into a giant pool of mud in front of the CRMS net.”It was fun out there,” he said. “I like the mud.”

“I thought it sucked,” said Zubizarreta, whose white uniform, like Brown’s, was coated in brown muck.Basalt junior John Peckler broke Basalt’s scoring freeze in the 50th minute after nimbly dribbling around two defenders before placing the ball into the top left corner of the CRMS net. Zubizarreta added the Longhorns’ final goal five minutes later when he tapped in a deflected shot in front of the net. The lone goal for the Oysters (2-8 overall) came in the 80th minute when Sung-Ho Kim one-timed a blast from the left side of the goal box.Tuesday’s victory was crucial for the Longhorns, who picked up their second win after last week’s deflating 2-1 loss to rival Aspen.

Following Tuesday’s 8-0 drubbing of Coal Ridge, the Skiers are one win away from clinching their first league crown in six years. Basalt held off Vail Mountain School on Saturday to put itself in position for a second-place finish, which would guarantee a playoff spot. The Longhorns (8-2-1 in 3A Western Slope) finish out league play Saturday at Roaring Fork before the regular season finale Tuesday against nonleague 4A Glenwood Springs. The Skiers will look to avenge their lone league loss to VMS in a rematch Saturday, before finishing out the regular season Tuesday at CRMS.”I think we’re just trying to push our way as far as we can get,” Zubizarreta said. “If we don’t mess up, we’ve got a chance. We’re in the playoffs, and we can go as far from there as we want to go. I think it’s up to us. I think we can easily make the quarterfinals if not semifinals if we push ourselves.””We played Aspen really well,” Brown added. “Aspen is a really great team, but we stuck with them. We can go far again, I think. We had a few games there where we weren’t playing to our full potential, but we’re just trying to pick it up again.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com

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