Basalt, Aspen soccer teams go down in second round
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
For Basalt’s and Aspen’s girls soccer teams, the season ends here for a second consecutive year.
Both squads pulled out tight 3A state tournament opening-round wins Wednesday over opponents from the state’s Western Slope. The two had no such luck Saturday against a pair of Front-Range stalwarts.
The 12th-seeded Longhorns (11-3-3) surrendered three first-half goals – the first coming in the third minute – against No. 5 Peak to Peak. Basalt mounted a late charge with two scores in the final 10 minutes, but ran out of time.
The No. 19 Skiers (11-3-2) held defending state champion and third-seeded St. Mary’s scoreless for the game’s first 30 minutes, but the quick-strike Pirates closed the opening half with a flurry to take a 3-0 lead. They tacked on two more in the second half and cruised to a 5-0 win, securing a berth in the quarterfinals and a date with Coal Ridge.
“They certainly battered us,” Aspen head coach John Gillies admitted. “For 30 minutes, we were doing really well. They’re a big team and are well organized.
“We just got tired.”
St. Mary’s (13-3-1) took advantage. Jenny Nagl beat Skiers goalkeeper Lindsey Anderson twice, then Christina Whitelaw found the net to stretch the lead to three at the break.
The duo was not finished. After Nagl gave the Pirates a four-goal cushion in the second half, Whitelaw notched her 33rd goal of the season to put the game out of reach.
Whitelaw has scored six goals this postseason, including four in Wednesday’s 6-0 win over Ridgway.
“The girls came out and played hard,” Gillies said. “We just got beat by a better team.”
Eshelman shared that sentiment.
“The level of competition was mind-blowing compared to what we’ve seen all season,” she said. “I was watching the other team warm up, and I saw the girls were watching, too. They were a well-oiled machine. … I knew the girls were getting a little nervous.”
Those nerves were compounded when Peak to Peak’s (10-4-3) Ivy Devries scored in the third minute. Belle Morel and Gavi Roda added goals in the first half for the Pumas.
“I just told them [at halftime] that I believed in them, and they had to start believing in themselves,” Eshelman said. “Just because they’re bigger doesn’t mean they’re better.
“We made some adjustments to our forward positioning … and we really had nothing to lose at that point. We went for it.”
And made things interesting. Annette Stenstadvold lofted a free kick into the box in the 70th minute, and teammate Julia Kaputska booted the ball into the net.
With two minutes remaining, Katie King crossed the ball to Jackie Argueta, who tapped it into an open goal.
“You always want more time. If we had more, I think this would’ve been a different outcome,” Eshelman said. “We played with high intensity and a lot of heart. … It took 40 minutes for them to stop being so terrified.
“I asked the girls if they’d rather lose like this or on penalty kicks. They said ‘definitely like this.’ They were all positive about how things ended.”
Basalt lost to Manitou Springs on penalty kicks in last year’s second round, while Aspen was blanked, 3-0, by Colorado Academy.
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