Basalt girls soccer advances in 3A playoffs after win over Middle Park
GRANBY — The Basalt High School girls soccer team’s season will continue after a hard-fought overtime win over the Middle Park Panthers, 3-2, on Wednesday afternoon. It was a swift exit from the 3A state tournament for the No. 14-seeded Panthers, who went 9-6 in the regular season, including a seven-game winning streak at their peak.
“These girls played really hard,” Middle Park coach Jeff Ehlert said. “This year was kind of a roller coaster. We started out rough, but really got things going pretty well. Then we had kind of a letdown after that big win against St. Mary’s. We played the best we could today, but just fell a little short.”
The Panthers led twice during the game. Junior Caitlin Davis gave the Panthers a 1-0 lead with just under 17 minutes left in the first half, but it was quickly erased after the Longhorns scored on a rebounded penalty kick.
The Panthers took the lead again in the second half on a goal by junior Lisa McClain but couldn’t hold on as the second half lingered. The Longhorns tied it up with less than 19 minutes remaining.
“In the beginning, we were trying to force it up the field a lot,” Basalt coach Andrew Huntsman said. “Their defense is incredible. They were stopping through balls and it just wasn’t happening for us. We had to possess it more and try to drag those girls out to get something to happen, and it did. It was a well-fought game. I’m really proud of how competitive it was and how closely matched it was.”
The Longhorns won the game in sudden-death overtime.
Senior Kiera Barr was the hard-luck loser at goalie for the Panthers, despite several impressive saves. Senior Kate Schrock recorded the win for the Longhorns in a noteworthy performance of her own.
“We played well, we just weren’t anticipating plays well enough to get back under the ball,” Ehlert said. “We were standing there wanting a little bit when we got tired. That’s just what happens when you get tired. It was a great season, can’t say much more than that. Somebody’s got to win and somebody’s got to lose.”
The Longhorns, seeded No. 19 in the state tournament, are scheduled to play the No. 3-seed Kent Denver Sun Devils on Saturday. Kent Denver had a first-round bye. The teams scrimmaged against each other prior to the start of the season.
“I think they’ve worked very hard and I’m proud of them for that,” Huntsman said. “I’m happy this went our way today and we were able to finish it. Now it’s time to regroup and focus on the next step. … Kent Denver is an incredible program, and we expect the best from them.”
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