Basalt boys go out in quarterfinals
If not for a bad bounce and two crucial injuries, Basalt’s boys soccer team might be joining Aspen in the semifinal round of the 3A state playoffs.The No. 10 Longhorns came up just short of their third final four appearance on Saturday in Denver, allowing an own-goal in a 1-0 loss to second-seeded Colorado Academy.The Mustangs’ goal came off a corner kick with about 10 minutes remaining in regulation and after Basalt (11-4) had lost its two leading scorers to injury.”They weren’t very good,” Basalt coach John McDermott said of his team’s opponent. “We had a few shots, but they never had anything materialize on our own goal. It was just corner [kicks] and set pieces where they got opportunities.”The own-goal came in the middle of a melee for a jump ball off a Mustangs’ corner kick. Basalt’s Duncan McDaniel accidentally knocked the crossing shot into his team’s own net.Basalt had a handful of good scoring chances in the first half but failed to score before senior captains Trevor Brown and Ryan Zubizarreta both left the game with injuries.Brown exited with about 15 minutes remaining in the first half with a hip injury, while Zubizarreta played out the remainder of the half after injuring his knee with about 10 minutes to go. At halftime, it became apparent he wouldn’t be able to play during the second half, Zubizarreta said.”I think that was probably the worst way that it could have ever ended for the both of us,” the senior said. “It’s the final thing in your high school career and you can’t even do anything about it.”Zubizarreta and Brown were both starters on last year’s team that was knocked off by state runner-up, Faith Christian, in the semifinal round. The year before, both players were on the roster when Basalt was beat by Salida in the semifinals. In spite of the disappointing loss, the season as a whole was a success, Zubizarreta said.”I think we proved a lot of people wrong,” he said. “They thought it was going to be a rebuilding year for us.”McDermott echoed his senior captain’s sentiments.”It was a team that wasn’t supposed to do anything and they just came together,” he said. “A brilliant season with just a couple of close losses.”Both McDermott and Zubizarreta expect Aspen – which knocked off No. 13 Classical Academy at home Saturday night – to contend for the state title.The Skiers’ next opponent is No. 9 Denver Christian, a team that Basalt beat, 2-0, in its first game of the season. The Skiers took both regular season meetings against the Longhorns by a combined score of 5-2.”It’s open,” McDermott said. “[Colorado Academy] wasn’t as good as Aspen. And with [top-seeded] Peak to Peak out, they’ve got a good shot.””I’m not going to lie, I think Aspen has a very good chance,” added Zubizarreta, who led Basalt with 14 goals this season. “We beat [Denver Christian] in the beginning of the year and they’re not very strong.”Brown was the Longhorns’ second-leading scorer with 10 goals. Basalt loses eight seniors from this year’s team and returns 10.”What’s exciting is that I’ve built a foundation for next year,” McDermott said. “These kids are coming together. If there was one positive from [Saturday] with Trevor and [Zubizarreta] being out, it’s that I had next year’s team out there and they were playing well.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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