Basalt High still gold standard
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Basalt’s boys soccer team remained the gold standard of the Class 3A Western Slope League after beating rival Aspen 3-0 Thursday in Basalt, a game shifted from Aspen due to soggy field conditions.
Sporting their new yellow uniforms, the two-time defending league champion Longhorns got two goals from sophomore Felipe Sanchez and a shutout from sophomore Jamie Wirkler in net.
Basalt improved to 3-0 in league and 3-1 overall, while Aspen, in its first league defeat, dropped to 3-1 and 3-4 overall.
For Basalt, which hasn’t lost to Aspen in two seasons, the win would appear to be just another plotted step en route to another league title, but yesterday’s victory was hardly methodical.
Both squads feature young lineups, and neither settled into productive rythyms yesterday. Basalt’s two early, opportunistic goals stunned Aspen, but the Skiers gave up nothing in the second half after going down 3-0 in the first.
“We still have to get into our style of game,” said Basalt’s Sanchez, 15. “We’re a pretty young team and we’ve got to stick with it to try and get better and better.”
“Aspen played a really good game, and they moved the ball very well,” added Basalt coach Erik Streff. “We got those early goals, then I think we sat back a bit.”
Sophomore Ben Pollack scored Basalt’s first goal in the 12th minute. Pollack lobbed a chip shot from about 35 yards out to force Fred Barnard, the Aspen goalie, into a furious backpedal to cover the line. The ball slipped between the crossbar and Barnard’s outstretched hands.
Less than 10 minutes later, Sanchez scored his first goal off a Basalt cornerkick. After Cy Eaton centered the ball, it rattled around the penalty box before Sanchez put leather to it for a tap into the corner.
“We were playing with ’em for the first 15 minutes,” said Grant “Junior” Sutherland, who coaches Aspen with John Gillies. “Then they got that fluke goal, and that’s going to happen in soccer, and we put our heads down for the rest of the half.
“We still have a lot of work to do.”
Sanchez, a roving forward/midfielder, scored his second goal, Basalt’s third, in the 27th minute on a run up the right wing. Omar Saucedo, bunched toward the middle with teammates and defenders, hit the streaking Sanchez, who then angled in on the net and beat Barnard far-post.
In the second half, three yellow cards were issued as the teams went at each other, but the score remained the same.
Basalt, now poised for another run at a league title, was not willing to claim any larger victory.
“You’ve got to take each opponent seriously,” said coach Streff, “and you can’t look past anybody. This [win] is definitely a step toward [another league title], but to get to that next one we’ll need to bear down, concentrate better and pick it up all around – we’ve got Faith this weekend and then CRMS and Vail Mountain next week.”
Faith Christian, the two-time defending Class 3A state champions, rolls into the valley today for a 4 p.m. match at Aspen. On Saturday, Basalt hosts Faith at 11 a.m.
Sanchez predicated the Basalt-Faith Christian match is “gonna be a classic.”
“It’s a great opportunity for us, and we’re really looking forward to it,” he added.
For Aspen, Friday’s match against Faith will be the Skiers’ fourth since Saturday, sixth since last Thursday.
“The guys are tired and it’s a non-league game,” said Aspen’s Sutherland. “I think we’ll be working in a lot of fresh legs tomorrow.”
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The state track and field championship meet got underway Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood, with Basalt High School coming away with a couple of podiums.