Aspen girls soccer beats Basalt on senior night to clinch playoff spot; golfers qualify
Skiers will battle Vail Mountain for league title on Saturday
The Aspen High School girls soccer team locked up a spot in the 16-team playoff field on Thursday with a senior day win over rival Basalt on the AHS turf.
The 4-1 victory secured no worse than second place in the Class 3A Western Slope League for the Skiers, who will go for the league title in the regular-season finale on Saturday at Vail Mountain.
“We are looking forward to that. The more games we play, the happier we are,” AHS coach Chris Ellis said. “Now we’d like to see if we can get some sort of result against Vail and maybe even get more than just a playoff spot. But no, it’s nice, in front of a home crowd on senior day to cap it off in that fashion.”
The Longhorns entered Thursday’s game likely needing a win in what was their final regular-season game. Already missing a couple of players due to vacations, in-game injuries quickly made the task of keeping up with a rising Aspen team more than they could handle, especially after the halftime break.
“It’s hard, because I really think the teams were even first half,” Basalt coach Brent Hayes said. “But unfortunately we were missing our starting center back, we were missing our starting goalie. Our center back went down 10 minutes into the game. Our striker went down 20 minutes into the game. And that’s just too much to overcome. They kept trying.”
Aspen led 1-0 at halftime behind a goal by Lexi Cordts-Pearce that came about 20 minutes into the game. Then, midway through the second half, Tigist Peshek and Jenny Ellis both scored in the span of about three minutes to make it 3-0 and essentially put the game out of reach.
“The first half we felt, from out perspective, was a little disjointed, a little sloppy,” Chris Ellis said. “Not how we like to play; not how we want to play. So we shifted our thoughts a little bit and our tactics and how we were going to go about the game in the second half and I think it made a difference.”
Basalt’s Lexi Lowe did get one of the goals back, scoring with about 16 minutes remaining, but Aspen’s Caprice Seeman countered with her own goal five minutes later to make it 4-1 and that was all she wrote.
“I’m proud of the way they fought. Literally our only two subs were JV players who had never played a minute of varsity all year,” Hayes said of his team. “The last few weeks have been really fun. They’ve really come together as a team. We are a young team, so there is a lot to look forward to. We are not totally out of it.”
Indeed, Basalt is not totally out of it, although its playoff chances look slim. BHS finishes the regular season 7-3 overall and will have to wait until the brackets are released Sunday to see if it made the 16-team field. There are 13 automatic qualifiers across Class 3A this spring based off how they finish in league play, with three at-large spots available to fill out the bracket. The Longhorns are hoping to snag one of those spots.
Photos: AHS girls soccer vs. Basalt
“More power to Aspen,” Hayes said. “They did what they needed to do. I’ve watched a couple of their games, and that’s by far the best I’ve seen them play. Their counter was a lot for us. We didn’t adjust to their counter attack very well. Kudos to them and kudos to Vail.”
Aspen, now 6-2-1 overall, will travel to undefeated and No. 4-ranked Vail Mountain (9-0) on Saturday. While AHS does have two losses, including a 1-0 loss to Basalt on May 20, neither game was an official WSL contest. The 1-1 draw with Roaring Fork on May 13 is the only non-win for the Skiers in league play.
“The longer you can remain together and practice together and play games together as a team, the better off you are going to be,” Chris Ellis said of keeping the season going. “The understanding between players starts to develop and those relationships on field become more effective.”
Aspen girls golf qualifies two for state
The Aspen High School girls golf team competed Thursday in its Class 3A regional tournament at Cattails Golf Club in Alamosa, finishing third as a team.
Aspen freshman Brooke O’Sullivan shot 89 to finish fourth overall and will head to the state tournament. Also qualifying was AHS senior Tessa Guthrie, who shot 104 to finish eighth.
Aspen senior Amanda Simeone shot 123 and finished tied for 22nd and will be a state alternate.
The Skiers shot 316 to finish 15 strokes behind the 301 shot by runner-up Alamosa. Vail Mountain rolled to the regional title with 252.
Vail Mountain’s Ava Cavataio shot 75 to win the regional by 12 strokes over her VMS teammate Logan Nobrega and Alamosa’s Lora Ortega, who each shot 87.
The Class 3A state golf tournament is scheduled for June 21 and 22 at Elmwood Golf Course in Pueblo.
Basalt baseball falls twice to Moffat County
CRAIG (Craig Press) — Seven total home runs. Two grand slams. 35 total runs.
Oh, and one league title.
Moffat County High School baseball crushed it in every sense Thursday afternoon to earn two wins, 20-6 and 15-11, over Basalt and ensure its place as the top team in the Class 3A Western Slope League.
The Bulldogs needed the sweep to end the regular season with the WSL’s best overall record, 14-2, but also to tie it up with Gunnison at 10-2 each in conference play.
The deciding factor for the tiebreaker was runs allowed, which MCHS led in by far, letting only 60 total runs across the plate this spring, 54 in league games.
The Longhorns dropped to 9-5 overall and will close out the regular season on Saturday against Aspen.
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Basalt went 11-5 in the shortened regular season and finished a mere fourth in the Class 3A Western Slope League behind Moffat County, Gunnison and Delta. Then the Longhorns were the No. 21 seed in regional play that only includes 24 teams, but still shook up the bracket with a pair of big upsets.