Aspen girls soccer rallies to top Basalt 2-0
The Aspen Times
With end-to-end action and shots aplenty from both teams, a goal was inevitable.
But the Aspen and Basalt girls soccer teams made the festive crowd wait on Aspen High’s senior day.
At halftime, the rivalry match stood at 0-0 at Aspen School District Stadium.
With overtime looming, the Skiers finally broke the scoreless spell when senior Logan McNamee blasted home the first goal at the end of an extended Aspen counterattack — including passes from Chelsea Moore, Arley Gordon and Simone Lamont.
Aspen freshman Emily Brenninger added Aspen’s second goal with 3:55 to play in the Western Slope League match between the teams that were tied in the conference entering the match.
The Skiers improved to 7-2-0 in league play, 11-3-0 overall.
“We haven’t played on our field in a while,” Aspen head coach John Gillies said, adding that the spacious pitch tired the Skiers and the Longhorns.
He sent on a bevy of reserves in the second half.
“It changed the game,” he said, adding that the Basalt team is much improved from early in the season. “Basalt … they are much better organized.”
He said the Aspen defense in front of keeper Millie Everhart was stellar against an attacking Basalt team that managed 15 shots on goal.
“I’m so happy with our defense,” Gillies said, citing the play of McKenna Kiker, Margo McHugh, Maya McDonough and Theresa Martin.
“It was good to beat Basalt on senior night,” Gillies said, acknowledging AHS seniors Martin, McNamee, Laura Knaus, Arley Gordon and Lindzhi Douglas. He said the game with Basalt always is a special one for both teams.
“There is a lot of passion there. They want to beat us,” Gillies said.
And the surging Longhorns threatened immediately with attacks from Stella Scott and Callahan Card as well as Kaity Johnson.
Fatima Martinez also had a first-half shot for the Longhorns, forcing a save from Everhart.
But their array of counter attacks and shots were denied by the Skiers’ defense, which picked up its eighth shutout of the season.
Basalt moved to 6-3-0 in league play, 8-5-0 overall.
“My girls played a good game,” said Basalt head coach Andrew Huntsman. “Compared to our first game against them, I think we’ve come a long way.”
Aspen won 6-2 back in March.
“We do struggle on such a big field … the bounces and the speed of the game,” Huntsman said, crediting the Skiers with managing the large pitch. “Good job to Aspen. They played a great game.”
He said the Basalt defense stepped up against the Skiers.
“I’m really proud of my defense. And my goalie (Katie Schrock) made some incredible saves,” he said. “Offensively, we didn’t create as viable of opportunities as they did.”
He said the pace of play and the counter attacks from both teams made for entertaining soccer.
“It was a great game. A fun game to watch,” he said.
Aspen will close the regular season Friday with a home game against Vail Christian.
The Basalt girls soccer team will host Grand Valley on Thursday afternoon.
Coal Ridge beat Vail Mountain School 3-2 on Tuesday in New Castle to leave the Titans alone in first place in the Western Slope League at 10-0-0. They are 11-2-0 overall.
VMS is 9-1-0 and 10-1-1 overall after the loss to Coal Ridge.
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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.