Basalt blows past 2A Front Range Christian
BASALT Basalt girls soccer coach Chris Woods blamed the wind. That, plus a week off between games. Whatever it was, the Longhorns were a tad sluggish in their home playoff opener Thursday against Front Range Christian.Not that it mattered much against the Falcons, a young 2A team from Littleton whose reward for qualifying for the postseason was a date with the loaded Longhorns – 3A’s second seed.While the Falcons gave the home team a competitive first half on a blustery afternoon in Basalt, the final outcome was never really in doubt. Basalt sophomore Heather Nemiec knocked in a loose ball off a corner kick in the fifth minute for what was ultimately the game-winner, and the Longhorns rolled to a 6-0 win.Basalt next hosts 10th-seeded Classical Academy on Saturday, with a berth in the state quarterfinals on the line. The Titans upset seventh-seeded Academy, 3-2, on Wednesday.The Falcons hemmed in Basalt’s big three of Kat Fitzpatrick, Katie Staerkel and Melissa Stewart – who have combined for 53 goals this season – but didn’t have an answer for the other eight Longhorns on the field. Junior Alia Munger banged home two goals and added an assist, and classmate Hailey Guglielmo finished with a goal and an assist.Stewart finally broke through in the 60th minute when she faked out a defender in the box, then crossed up Falcons goalie Charlotte Martinez. Her 15th goal of the season moved her to within five of Staerkel and three of Fitzpatrick.”That’s perfect that other girls stepped up,” Basalt coach Chris Woods said. “Our three guns didn’t really fire today, but the other eight did.”
Munger crossed the corner that set up Nemiec’s opening goal, then made it 2-0 in the 26th minute when she blasted a knuckleball past Martinez.
Guglielmo netted a loose ball in front of the Falcons’ goal in the opening minute of the second half, and assisted on an Emily Birk goal seven minutes later. Birk lined up a shot from about 30 yards out that sailed over Martinez’s head and landed just inside the near post.Munger netted Basalt’s final goal in the 78th minute with another long blast, this one from the right wing that tucked into the far left corner of the net.
“[The goalie] was bobbling a lot of balls, and that’s something we needed to capitalize on,” Guglielmo said.Front Range Christian had a couple of chances to score in the first 40 minutes, including a run from freshman Kara Quinn. Quinn skipped through the slide tackle of a Basalt defender and managed to stay upright after a collision with Basalt goalie Dayne Toney, only to misfire on an empty net.”If we could have gotten one or two in the net, I think the morale would have been higher,” said Falcons coach Christian Fachathaler. “After that, we sat back and started playing defense, and it didn’t work for this game.””They were really psyched up, and we came out a little slow, but we quickly realized we had to bring it if we wanted to keep playing,” Munger added. “It was only 1-0 for the first 20 minutes.”
Because there are not enough 2A schools to make up a playoff bracket, the Colorado High School Activities Association lumps 2A postseason qualifiers into the 3A bracket. The Falcons compiled a 14-0-1 record during the regular season against 2A and 3A teams, but hadn’t run into a team as good as Basalt until Wednesday.”I think us coming in as a 2A team playing a big 3A team ranked second in the state, I think Basalt was a little bit shocked at first,” Fachathaler said. “But then they got ahold of us pretty good. Once they got their feet underneath them, they were pretty aggressive, and we got our cages a little bit rattled. That’s when we fell apart.””They gave us a bit more of a challenge,” Woods admitted. “It’s tough to have a week off. It’s tough to get going, but once we got going, we were able to do what we needed to do. I said to the girls that it wasn’t our best game. Saturday is going to be our best game.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com.
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Winter sports practices were officially allowed to begin last week, Jan. 18, after the Colorado High School Activities Association was given a variance from the state’s health officials. Games were allowed to be played starting this week.