Tangled up in purple | AspenTimes.com

Tangled up in purple

Nate PetersonAspen, CO Colorado

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

BASALT Unlike most of his teammates, Toby Bopp doesnt know what it feels like to lose to Aspen.Last fall Bopp was back home in Germany when the Longhorns were beaten twice by their upvalley rivals a Skiers sweep that helped clinch Aspens first 3A Western Slope crown since 2000.Saturday on the Longhorns home pitch, Bopp helped his new teammates get back to winning against the Skiers and back atop the league standings. In the 15th minute, the baby-faced junior foreign exchange student bopped a bouncing ball that got behind Aspen goalie Alex Owen into the net, breaking a scoreless tie, and abetting the Longhorns in a 3-1 win.Basalt remains unbeaten in league at 6-0, and improved to 7-2 overall. Aspen fell to 3-3-1 overall, 2-1-1 in league.It was more intense than I thought it was going to be, Bopp said after getting his first taste of Basalt-Aspen soccer. My coach from Germany told me that I must hustle every time and I must go for the ball, even if the player gets it or the goalie gets it. I ran, and I saw the ball was long, and the keeper was far away from his own goal and it bounced off and over his head and I run and I make the score.Owens one mistake during an otherwise impressive outing in the net proved costly in a match where every scoring chance was hotly contested. The junior simply misjudged a hard-to-read long ball off the foot of Basalts Ryan Mylott, and it hopped over his outstretched hands to an awaiting Bopp, who gently tapped it in.The Skiers tied the game seven minutes later when junior Dane Kornasiewicz connected on a left-to-right cross, zipping the ball past Basalt goalie Marshall Cleveland into the top left corner of the net. Freshman Will Bloemsma earned the assist.The goal was one of only a handful of Aspen scoring chances during a first half in which the Longhorns pressed most of the action. Basalts quick-strike offense snatched back the lead just two minutes later when Omar Lopez stepped out of the scrum near the top of the Aspen box and lined a shot past Owen that tucked itself into the top left corner of the goal.Basalts Austin Johnson finished the scoring in the final minute of the half, lofting a beautiful shot from about 30 yards out that also found the goals top left corner.Aspen coach Junior Sutherland said his team gifted Basalt its first two goals with poor decision-making, adding he was pleased with the effort from his players but not necessarily the execution.Those first two goals were gifted to them, and the third goal was terrible, he said. Guys not playing their lines, and their guy had a great shot and strike for a goal. We made errors and we paid for it.While Aspens defense left open holes, Basalts back starting back row of Kyle Wood, Mylott and Chris Doll was exceptional marking Aspens strikers.Sutherland moved up a player in the second half and the Skiers kept the ball on Basalts half of the field for the majority of the 40 minutes, but they couldnt cut into the Longhorns lead.Aspens best scoring chance came with just 17 minutes to go when junior Greg Ross blasted a shot that banged off the cross bar.It didnt help the Skiers any that they were missing two of their best offensive players, Robbie Franklin and Giovanni Negroni, because of red cards in the Skiers 3-0 win over Paonia a week before.Aspen was supposed to play Roaring Fork on Tuesday, but an absence of refs canceled the game, which forced Negroni and Franklin to have to sit out Saturdays game.We definitely pushed them hard in the second half, but the breaks didnt go for us, Sutherland said. I had no qualms with the way the kids battled today, we just made some mistakes and we got punished for it.We should have taken more shots on goal, but we decided to try and get it to the corners a little bit more than we probably should have, Kornasiewicz said. We tried to get too many crosses when we should have just taken more shots. Missing a couple offensive guys does hurt, too.For Basalt coach John McDermott, his first win over Aspen was one he said he would cherish.Its very satisfying, he said. They were very well coached, as usual. They came out playing, and it was an excellent game to watch both ways. We just controlled the ball a bit better. We had a bit more speed in front and, you know, the goals just came.As for Bopp, he said he was just happy to get a win on homecoming weekend another thing he wasnt in town for last year.It is a pretty good feeling because we are at homecoming, and yesterday our football team lost, he said. I feel sad a little bit, and now I feel great. I hope our football team wins the next game.Nate Petersons e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com

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