Aspen girls soccer gets revenge, beats Basalt behind McGuire’s first-half goal
Aspen High School’s Maeve McGuire pointed out last season’s win in Basalt as reasoning for their 5-2 loss to the Longhorns earlier this season.
“Last year we beat them and it was probably the greatest game we played all season,” the sophomore said. “We were really hyped up when we played them the first time (this season) and we just let the pressure get to us.”
The Aspen girls soccer team won that late-season game a year ago, 5-2, on Basalt’s grass field as a storm coated the field in snow. When the teams met again this season on April 12 in Basalt, the Longhorns flipped the script and took it to the Skiers in a non-league win.
So Thursday in Aspen, the Skiers had plenty to fuel themselves en route to a 1-0 league win on the AHS athletic field, just the latest chapter in the heated rivalry.
“Aspen played a great game and that’s honestly the best team that we’ve played against this season,” Basalt girls soccer coach Andrew Huntsman said after Thursday’s game. “It was great competition and they moved the ball well and they really made us step up to a new level of play.”
Unlike the first game the teams played this season, Thursday’s crucial rematch was about the defense, not to say the offenses didn’t keep the goalies on their toes. The game’s lone score came with roughly 10 minutes to play in the first half, and it was McGuire’s sixth goal of the season that proved to be the difference.
She had a similar opportunity to score earlier in the half, and wasn’t about to let a second opportunity pass her by.
“This time I saw the ball coming and I knew I had space and I took the touch,” McGuire said. “I didn’t think it was going in.”
It did, and Basalt wasn’t able to answer over the final 50 minutes, although the Longhorns had chances.
“I was surprised by the intensity that Aspen came out with and I was proud of the way my girls started to accelerate through the game,” Huntsman said. “It was one of those things where we wish there were a few more minutes.”
It was the final league game of the season for Aspen, which hasn’t lost since falling to Basalt the first time. The Skiers have now won five straight, with wins over Delta and Roaring Fork in the mix.
Depending on how the points shape up this next week, at 7-1 in league play — the only loss an April 6 overtime defeat to Coal Ridge — Aspen looks like the league champs. However, Coal Ridge also remains without a league loss but does have a couple of ties, including one against Basalt on April 10.
AHS, 10-3 overall, finishes out the regular season with a May 3 game at Durango and a May 5 contest against Middle Park on senior day.
“There is nothing better to encourage somebody to win than getting beat in the first game against a team. And our luck was it wasn’t a conference game,” Aspen coach John Gillies said of Thursday’s win. “I’m proud of the girls and what they’ve achieved this season. Now we are just focusing on the next game.”
Basalt fell to 8-3-1 overall and 4-2-1 in league play. The Longhorns still have two important league games to go, the first being a Saturday trip to Roaring Fork for an 11 a.m. contest in Carbondale. BHS will then play at Vail Mountain on Tuesday.
The team intends to play Roaring Fork again next weekend in a final non-league game, a makeup from a postponed game earlier in the season.
“It’s kind of what you want at the end of the season,” Huntsman said. “You want to play tough teams and accelerate and hopefully make it into the postseason.”
Both Aspen (No. 18) and Basalt (No. 25) remained in the postseason picture based off the RPI standings entering Thursday’s contest. Only 24 teams will make the Class 3A state tournament.
For the most up-to-date RPI standings, visit CHSAANow.com.
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Buttermilk Ski Area already is scheduled to host the world’s best at ESPN’s X Games this coming week, while it was recently announced Aspen Highlands will host alpine skiing’s NorAm finals later this spring.