Basalt and Aspen soccer teams cruise |

Basalt and Aspen soccer teams cruise

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jim Ryan contributed photoLonghorns senior Melissa Stewart fires a shot on Rangely's net in the first half Tuesday at Basalt High School. The Longhorns won, 8-0.

BASALT ” So much for a letdown.

Any concerns Basalt head coach Makenzie Eshelman had about her Longhorns being able to put Saturday’s loss to Coal Ridge behind them were put to rest early Tuesday ” in just 58 seconds. Ginevra Moore finished off a well-placed cross in the opening minute against Rangely and, on the strength of a hat trick from senior forward Melissa Stewart, Basalt cruised to an 8-0 victory.

“I think they were just ready to come out and play,” Eshelman said. “We played really well, we passed really well and everybody played together as a team. … Pretty quickly I saw we were in for a good game.”

That much became clear as the Longhorns jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first 40 minutes. Noel Chiarelli connected off an assist from Stewart, then Stewart scored after corraling a free kick from Dakota Morrison and finishing in the box.

Stewart fired a cross that was headed home by Katie King to extend the lead.

Basalt’s dominant play continued in the third as Jackie Argueta and Haylea Padgett both scored and Longhorns goalkeeper Jamie Matherly had the chance to play 30 minutes outside the net. Stewart sliced her way through the Panthers defense for two more goals ” her 23rd and 24th in 11 games this season.

“I actually thought we had better intensity in the second half,” Eshelman said. “I was impressed.”

Extended interludes for Spring Break and experiential education have made it hard for the Aspen girls soccer team to generate momentum. They now appear to be finding their stride.

The Skiers cruised to a 3-0 win Monday at Vail Christian in their first game in 11 days, then followed it up with another shutout performance Tuesday. Kate Moyer and Amanda Zalk combined for five goals to lead Aspen to a 5-0 win over Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale.

“We’re coming off the break back straight into games when all we really need is practices, but it’s good that we’re slowing getting better,” Skiers head coach John Gillies said. “It’s great that we’re still not conceding goals. We’re not scoring against the tough teams ” that’s the problem.”

Aspen has scored just one goal in three games against 3A Western Slope powers Basalt and Vail Mountain School ” two losses and a scoreless draw. Tuesday, in the final tune-up before Thursday’s bout with conference-leader Coal Ridge in New Castle, the Skiers had little trouble finding the net.

Aspen connected twice in the first 10 minutes, the latter on an acrobatic header from Zalk, to surge ahead. It led by that same margin at the break.

“The rest of the half they sat back,” Gillies said. “They thought that was enough. … They work in periods. We need to work for 80 minutes and we can beat anyone.”

Moyer finished off a pass from Sally Boelens in the second as the Skiers padded their lead.

“We went into it knowing that we needed to attack the ball better,” Gillies said. “We came in with a few stats about how Basalt played [CRMS], and how Coal Ridge played against them. There was enthusiasm, and we had a bit of a bite today. They didn’t really trouble us.”

That should change Thursday against a Titans squad that knocked off 11-time Slope champion Basalt on Saturday.

“If we put away our chances, there can still be a few upsets before the end of the regular season,” Gillies said. “We always look comfortable against the lesser teams. We’ve got to keep our composure and believe in ourselves [Thursday].”

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