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Basalt High School girls soccer eyeing playoff return with a new coaching staff

Longhorns won 9-0 over Moffat County on Thursday

The Basalt High School girls soccer team hosts Moffat County on Thursday, April 7, 2022, in Basalt.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

After tearing her ACL last season on Aspen’s turf field, Basalt High School junior Carly Gatlin has embraced the life of a sponge, absorbing all she can from the bench.

This has been especially important this spring as the BHS girls soccer team has a new coaching staff, and therefore new philosophies the players need to learn.

“It’s been really good to sit on the sideline and hear what the coaches have to say and watch from a different perspective and learn more through that way,” Gatlin said after Basalt’s 9-0 home win over Moffat County on Thursday. “It’s been nine months just watching, but it will be good to get back out there.”



Gatlin hopes to get the all clear to play as soon as Monday, allowing her to return to the field for the second half of the Longhorns’ season. After five games, Basalt is 3-2 overall under first-year head coach Molly DeMarr and assistant coach Carlos Salazar, who took over the BHS boys soccer program last fall.

Having an enthusiastic body on the sideline like Gatlin has been a big boost for DeMarr, and she hopes Gatlin provides an equally big boost on the pitch when she returns to action.




“She bridges this gap between our JV and our varsity team. She is just an overall really awesome kid, and to see her so excited to play but be such a leader from the sidelines is pretty cool,” DeMarr said. “They bring me a lot of joy, first and foremost, but also a lot of excitement, because there is a lot of talent on this team. There are also a lot of injuries right now, and we are working through it.”

DeMarr is a native of Michigan who has called the Roaring Fork Valley home for about two years. Her career highlights as a player include winning a national championship with Michigan State University’s club team. While she has never been a high school head coach before Basalt, she has dabbled in coaching and more recently has offered individual training through Carbondale’s Elite Performance Academy.

Among the athletes DeMarr helps train through EPA is former Aspen High School standout Kelley Francis, who broke program scoring records before finishing her prep career at Cherry Creek and now plays for Bucknell University as part of its NCAA Division I women’s soccer team.

“She was the one that actually encouraged me to step in when I saw this role open,” DeMarr said of Francis. “Based on her opinion and just what she’s seen with this program being an opponent, she thought that I would be a good fit.”

Basalt High School girls soccer coach Molly DeMarr talks to the players at halftime as the team hosts Moffat County on Thursday, April 7, 2022, on the BHS field. The Longhorns won, 9-0.
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

The Longhorns opened the season with wins over Crested Butte (3-1) and Telluride (3-2) before heading to spring break. Upon returning, BHS lost a pair of league games to Coal Ridge (4-3) and Vail Mountain (11-4) before getting back on track Thursday in a rout of winless Moffat County.

“After losing to Vail our last game, it’s definitely a confidence booster to come out and win,” BHS junior Sarah Levy said after beating the Bulldogs. “I’m just hoping to get a good league record so hopefully we have a chance to make playoffs. That’s my goal, because we were super close last year, and we just fell short by a few games.”

Basalt finished 7-3 overall last spring in a season shortened by the pandemic and was one of the first teams left out of the 16-team state bracket in Class 3A. As the No. 3 seed, Vail Mountain was the area’s top postseason representative last spring, losing in the state semifinals to eventual runner-up Colorado Academy, which had knocked out No. 15 seed Aspen in the quarterfinals. Kent Denver won the 3A title a season ago.

As it stands, Basalt still has plenty of work to do in order to return to the postseason, but it’s something that remains well within reach should the team string together some wins over the final 10 games of the regular season. Getting some players back and healthy, like Gatlin, wouldn’t hurt those chances.

“The girls overall have really surprised me in their receptiveness to myself and Carlos as brand new coaches and their willingness to learn our style of play and what we are looking for. And on top of that, we’ve got them in different positions than they are used to,” DeMarr said. “As long as we stay healthy and we keep our minds in it and come to every game with our mind in that game and in the moment, I feel great about this season.”

The Longhorns are next scheduled to host Middle Park on Saturday before hosting rival Roaring Fork on Monday. Both are non-league games. BHS will return to league play Thursday when Aspen makes the trek downvalley to Basalt.

The Skiers are 5-0 after beating Coal Ridge 5-1 on Thursday in New Castle in their first game back from spring break. Lexi Cordts-Pearce had three goals, while Jenny Ellis had two. AHS junior varsity also won, 1-0.

Aspen is ranked No. 5 in 3A this week per the CHSAANow.com poll, while VMS is a spot ahead at No. 4. AHS next travels to Delta on Tuesday before the Thursday matchup with the Longhorns.

Baseball season getting into gear

Both Basalt and Aspen baseball teams have gotten their seasons underway since returning from spring break.

The Longhorns are 0-2 after falling at Rifle (11-1) last week and at Glenwood Springs (6-5) on Tuesday. BHS is slated to play a doubleheader at Gunnison on Saturday.

AHS baseball is 0-3 after dropping a pair to Gunnison on Tuesday (23-12 and 18-0) and losing 16-10 at Eagle Valley on Wednesday. The Skiers travel to Moffat County on Saturday.

Aspen and Basalt are scheduled to play each other for the first time this spring on Wednesday, weather permitting.

Big tests await AHS girls lacrosse

Aspen girls lacrosse (4-0), ranked No. 6 in Class 4A this week, plays Friday night at undefeated Battle Mountain (4-0) in a critical league game. Then, on Saturday, the Skiers will host No. 2-ranked Green Mountain (5-1) in a noteworthy non-league matchup. The Rams’ only loss came on Monday, 13-9, against 5A Chatfield.

Aspen boys lacrosse is 2-3 overall after falling 12-11 in overtime on Wednesday at Eagle Valley. The three losses include one against Florida’s St. Edwards while on spring break. The Skiers travel to Summit on Friday before hosting Vail Mountain on Tuesday in their first home game.

acolbert@aspentimes.com


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