St. Mary’s Academy ends Basalt soccer season |

St. Mary’s Academy ends Basalt soccer season

The greatest season in the history of the Basalt High School girls soccer team ended in disappointing fashion Saturday at Willits Field near El Jebel.

The Longhorns came into the first round of the Class 3A State playoffs sporting a 9-3-0 record and their first Western Slope Conference championship.

But Basalt ran into a very fast and disciplined team from St. Mary’s Academy of Englewood. Helped by a hat trick from midfielder Erin Hurley, St. Mary’s won 5-0.

The first half featured end-to-end action, with each team making a number of forays deep into the other’s territory, only to be turned away. A strong Basalt defense, anchored by goalie Tera Kielmeyer, kept the game scoreless until about midway through the half.

Ultimately, though, the speed of the Wildcats, who Basalt coach Pat Hartigan called “definitely the fastest team we’ve played,” proved to be too much for the Horns. The early deadlock ended when Hurley fired a shot from just outside the box that narrowly eluded Kielmeyer.

Hartigan singled out that moment as a turning point in the game.

“After we got down one,” he said, “we let down for the next five minutes. That killed us.” Five fateful minutes Those five minutes would see two St. Mary’s goals. The first was scored by Jodie Ehrlich of the Wildcats on a nice shot to the upper left corner from just outside the box. The second came on a low shot by Hurley that found the lower left corner of the goal.

Down 3-0 at the half, the Longhorns regrouped and came out firing in the second half, nearly connecting just minutes into the half on a corner-kick feed from forward Ambere Cunningham to halfback Lilly Jensen. Basalt attempt blocked The attempt was blocked, however, by the stingy Wildcat defense, as were a number of other early second-half tries by the Longhorns.

St. Mary’s rallied again soon thereafter when Hurley beat Kielmeyer on a beautiful angled shot to the upper right corner to complete her hat trick. That goal was quickly followed by another nice effort for Basalt when midfielder Molly McGrath beat the defense and got free in front of the Wildcats’ goal.

However, McGrath’s shot sailed just wide, keeping the shutout intact.

St. Mary’s concluded the scoring minutes later when Mickey Marcucci snuck a low shot past a drawn-out Kielmeyer to make the score 5-0.

Basalt would have a number of chances down the stretch, including a beautiful feed from McGrath that found Shondia Houtzer and Megan Macuen in a crowd at the front of the St. Mary’s goal.

The Horns added an open shot by Lauren Vagneur. Both shots went just wide of the goal, however, and the Wildcats were able to complete the shutout.

Despite the playoff loss, Hartigan said the Longhorns should be proud.

“We went from nothing to accomplishing a great deal,” he said. “It’s been a fun ride, and we got to sniff the league championships and the state playoffs.”

That experience should come in handy for the Horns as they try to duplicate this year’s success next season.

The Horns lose only five players to graduation, and now, according to Hartigan, “they understand they’re good enough.”

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