Basalt girls squeak past Vail Mountain |

Basalt girls squeak past Vail Mountain

Ian Cropp
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Vail Mountain's Harper Kaufman kicks the ball over Basalt's Alyssa Leslie Tuesday in East Vail. Basalt won the game, 1-0. (Preston Utley/Vail Daily)

EAST VAIL – In a match that seemed destined for overtime, Basalt’s Kat Fitzpatrick buried a shot in the 80th minute to give her team a 1-0 win Tuesday against Vail Mountain in East Vail.

For most of the 79 previous minutes, Vail Mountain’s solid backline kept the No. 6-ranked Longhorns from getting a good look on net.

“We knew we were coming in against a very good team and knew we had to start from a solid organization in the back,” said Vail Mountain coach Bob Bandoni. “I’m really pleased with how we stayed organized in the back and the middle.”

But on two occasions, Basalt players were able to get loose and fire shots on the Vail Mountain net. On the first, the Longhorns’ Katie Staerkel rifled a shot from inside the box that Gore Rangers’ keeper Della Elich made a beautiful diving save, tipping the bending ball just past the goal.

A few minutes later, Fitzpatrick, a midfield playing on the left flank, made her way across the field and intercepted a Vail Mountain pass. After making her way past a defender and into the Vail box, Fitzpatrick walked in on goal and blasted a point-blank shot past Elich.

“(Vail’s defense) was effective against us,” said Basalt assistant coach Makenzie Holmes. “We didn’t have that many quality shots on goal until the last two.

“We were very flat today, but at the end, it was our intensity. Vail gave us a run for our money – they are a good team.”

Elich finished with 10 saves, while Basalt had 24 shots and 11 corner kicks.

Even though Basalt had a commanding lead in shots, the Gore Rangers kept the Longhorns’ forwards from penetrating the Vail box unmarked.

Gore Rangers Lani Bruntz, Kelsey Peck Mallory Kaufman Taylor Biegler and Mia Bandoni broke up plenty of Basalt passes, while Janelle Kibler-Silengo came in for quality minutes.

“We knew we’d have to give up a little on the attack to make sure we’d play out of a strong back,” Bandoni said.

Vail Mountain moved the ball well through the midfield, and threatened a few times in the Basalt end, but couldn’t test keeper Dayne Toney.

“I thought we developed the ball pretty well,” Bandoni said. “We handled the ball well, knocked it across the middle pretty well, but their back four is tough. We couldn’t penetrate.”

After Basalt held the ball in the Vail Mountain end for the most of the first 20 minutes, the Gore Rangers earned more ball possession for the final 20 minutes of the half.

The Longhorns, playing without their head coach, stayed unblemished in the 3A Western Slope.

“We need this kind of competition – it’s good for us,” Holmes said.

“They are a very good team,” Bandoni said. “They deserve to be representing our league (in the playoffs).”

Bandoni thought his squad played solid, and showed they can hang with any team.

“We have higher aspirations as far as connecting and linking thirds of the field,” he said.

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