Aspen boys soccer beats Basalt, 2-0

Aspen's Liam Rigney, No. 6, is surrounded by teammates after scoring an early goal against Basalt on Thursday in Aspen. The Skiers won, 2-0.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times |

Sometimes the bounces just don’t go your way. Other times, they do.

Triggered by a “fluky” hop that resulted in an early goal from Liam Rigney, the Aspen High School boys soccer team netted a key early-season victory on Thursday with a 2-0 win over rival Basalt at the AHS athletic field.

“If you don’t play on this surface frequently, you are not sure how that’s going to bounce. I could see it coming,” Aspen coach Dave Francis said. “It was lucky for us. It was unfortunate for them. Those are the breaks. You win some, you lose some on that front.”

Rigney’s goal came in the game’s third minute, giving the Skiers the early spark to hold off the younger Longhorns. The last time the teams met, Aspen stunned BHS 1-0 in overtime on senior night, despite having nothing to play for.

“Looks like the luck has been going our way a little more than theirs these last couple of times,” Francis said. “It will balance, I’m sure, at some point.”

Aspen took the 1-0 lead into the halftime break, and added a second goal with about 11 minutes to play, this one from Lucas Marchesi.

“That was a great goal by them, that second one. I can live with that one. I’m still kind of bummed about that first one,” Basalt coach Brent Hayes said. “This field has always given us trouble, both because of its size and it is different than all the newer turf fields. So it’s a solid home-field advantage that has always given us trouble, and that first goal was definitely fluky.”

Basalt dropped to 2-2 overall with the loss. The Longhorns beat Moffat County and Denver Christian to open the season before falling at three-time defending state champion Kent Denver on Saturday.

The Longhorns will next host Roaring Fork on Monday at 4 p.m.

“It’s not the best, but we’ll take it right now,” Hayes said of the record. “I was proud we played far better the second half (against Aspen). We matched their intensity second half. In general I think that’s a good, solid 50-50 game.”

Aspen improved to 2-3 overall with the win. The Skiers played five games in nine days to open the season, but now face a long break with the students heading into their experiential education week.

Aspen’s next scheduled game is Sept. 21 at Middle Park.

“The start of the season is always tough for us. We play a lot of games in a short space of time because of the ex-ed,” Francis said. “We’ve had so many games, we’ve had very little chance to work on anything tactically. You are just trying to keep them mentally fresh and hope things piece together a little bit.”

Aspen will face BHS once more this fall, in the Oct. 19 regular-season finale in Basalt.