Basalt boys upset No. 7 Sheridan
The goals will come, Basalt head soccer coach John McDermott told his players Wednesday. The goals will come. The first-year coach was right. The No. 10 Longhorns opened the second half of their 3A state tournament game with No. 7 Sheridan by scoring two goals in the first five minutes to erase its one-goal deficit. Senior Ryan Zubizarreta added two more scores to lead Basalt to the 4-1 opening-round win.The Longhorns (12-3-1 overall), state semifinalists in 2005, will face No. 2 Colorado Academy Saturday. The Mustangs beat Lutheran-Parker earlier Wednesday. “I told our guys to settle down and play their game,” McDermott said. “I was a little worried after the first couple touches, but we dominated. It was a nice shock.”Minutes into the second half, Zubizarreta got loose in Sheridan’s end and dribbled down the right sideline. He looked to the center of the field and spotted freshman Omar Lopez. Lopez, added to the roster after Kyle Wood broke his femur in a game with Aspen on Oct. 3, controlled the pass and tied the game.Junior Sal Cruz gave Basalt the lead for good soon after. Junior Michael Eaton crossed the ball to Cruz, who dove and headed it past the Rams’ goalkeeper.Zubizarreta scored twice to put the game out of reach. Junior John Peckler beat a defender down the left sideline and passed the ball to the back post. Zubizarreta, positioned perfectly, headed the ball home. Senior Trevor Brown then found Zubizarreta near the top of the box. Zubizarreta paused, took a touch then fired a shot into the back of the net. “I don’t know [what was different between the first and second halves]. I think we just wanted it more,” Zubizarreta said. “We were definitely the better team, and we knew that. It was a little scary during the first half when they scored first.”The Rams were the beneficiaries of a Longhorns’ own goal with 10 minutes to play in the first. Basalt senior goalkeeper Reto Luzi and sophomore midfielder Austin Johnson converged on a loose ball as it rolled near the Longhorns’ goal. Johnson went to clear the ball and hit it backwards – all Sheridan had to do was tap it into the net.”It was the only time they got in close to our goal in the half,” McDermott said. “I knew we had nothing to worry about. These guys are ready to take what’s given to them, and I think we can play with any team.”Basalt next faces familiar foe Colorado Academy. The Longhorns beat the Mustangs both times the two played last season, including a 2-0 win in the first round of the state tournament.”I think we have a very good chance, and we’re coming into this game with a lot of confidence,” Zubizarreta said. “We want to prove we’re a better team than the rankings.”
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Aspen Mountain opened for the season on Wednesday, a day earlier than originally planned. Top-to-bottom snowmaking, a solid recent storm and well-behaved guests made for a great experience despite all of the extra precautions.