Soccer: Basalt faces first-time foe in playoffs | AspenTimes.com

Soccer: Basalt faces first-time foe in playoffs

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times

Javier de la Cruz of the Basalt Longhorns (8) pressures the Skiers during a match earlier this season.

The streaking Basalt High School boys soccer team will face a first-time opponent to open the Class 3A state playoffs Friday in Denver.

The Longhorns, seeded No. 16 in the 32-team playoff field, will take on No. 17 Sheridan at 1 p.m. Friday at Kent Denver High School, host site for the four-team first and second rounds of the playoffs.

Aspen will take on No. 1 Kent Denver in the other game Friday at Kent, starting at 3 p.m.

"We have never played them; we've never played anyone from their league," veteran Basalt head coach Brent Hayes said. "But we're expecting a good physical game. That's what we get in the playoffs."

The Longhorns take an 8-5-2 record to Friday's match with Sheridan, also 8-5-2.

The winner of the Basalt-Sheridan match will advance to Saturday's 1 p.m. second-round game at Kent Denver, against the Aspen-Kent winner.

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Saturday's winner will move into the Class 3A state quarterfinals next week.

A first-round win could send the Longhorns against the host Kent Denver Sun Devils, the defending state champions. Kent has lost only one match in two seasons.

"You have to beat everybody," Hayes said, adding that the Longhorns endured a season in the tough Western Slope League. "I think we have a chance against anybody."

The Longhorns pack a streak of 10 consecutive matches without a loss — eight wins and two ties, including a tie against overall No. 4 seed Vail Mountain School.

"I think they (Gore Rangers) are a legit No. 4 seed," Hayes said.

He said the Longhorns will have to stay together and stay positive with each other in the playoffs.

dstrode@aspentimes.com