Basalt, Aspen begin soccer playoff push

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

BASALT ” Basalt’s 11-year reign as the class of 3A Western Slope soccer is over. But, as first-year head coach Makenzie Eshelman reiterated after Thursday’s regular-season finale, the Longhorns have bigger things on their minds.

Basalt, which finished second in the league and amassed an 11-2-2 record, garnered the 11th overall seed in this year’s 32-team playoff bracket, released Sunday afternoon. The Longhorns, one of four Slope teams in the field, will host No. 22 Estes Park (7-3-1) on Wednesday.

Aspen (9-4-2), postseason bound for the first time since 2006, nabbed the 24th seed. The Skiers will travel to Granby on Tuesday to square off with No. 9 Middle Park, which lost just once in 15 games this season.

Aspen has lost four of its last seven games ” all to playoff teams.

Slope winner Coal Ridge (14-0-1), the No. 7 seed, hosts No. 26 Bayfield on Wednesday, while No. 23 Vail Mountain School will take on 10th-seeded Denver Christian. St. Mary’s (12-1) is the tournament’s top seed, while defending champion Faith Christian is fifth.

The Longhorns will look to improve on a string of inconsistent postseason play in recent years. Sandwiched between their semifinal berth in 2007 were two first-round exits. Basalt lost a 3-2 overtime thriller to Colorado Academy in 2006. Last year, Classical Academy slipped a 25th-minute free kick into the net and escaped with a shutout win, avenging 2007’s 1-0 loss to the Longhorns in the quarterfinals.

Basalt is 3-2 in first-round games since 2004.