Basalt loses a 1-0 heartbreaker in Denver blizzard
Aspen Times Staff Writer
In 2-3 inches of snow and blizzardlike conditions Tuesday afternoon in Denver, Basalt’s season came to a tragic end against Kent Denver in the quarterfinals of the Class 3A state tournament.
No. 5 Basalt and No. 4 Kent Denver battled through challenging conditions ? the field was plowed immediately before kickoff and then at halftime ? for 75 minutes until Basalt committed an “own goal” that stood up in a 1-0 defeat.
“It was disappointing,” said Basalt coach Erik Streff. “The kids played hard; they gave everything they had and in a game like that it’s especially tough to lose on an own goal.”
Basalt, the two-time defending Class 3A Western Slope League champions, finish the 2002 campaign at 12-4-1. Meanwhile, Kent Denver (15-3) advances to the final four.
“We had plenty of opportunities, we just didn’t take advantage,” Streff said. “The shots were pretty equal between teams, and play was pretty equal too, but I think we had the better opportunities.”
The “own goal” came after a Kent Denver shot: “One of our defenders went to block it, and it deflected past our keeper who was going the other way for it,” Streff said.
Streff said the Kent Denver field was covered with 2-3 inches of snow, limiting both teams’ ability to maintain quality possession or construct offense. Before kickoff, the coaches and officials discussed delaying the game a day, Streff said, but since the forecast didn’t call for a break in the weather they went forward as scheduled.
“Most of the time the ball was on top of the snow, even in the areas where they plowed because the snow was accumulating. It was really slippery and there were quite a few fouls just because of the conditions ? you couldn’t control yourself from sliding,” he said.
“It’s hard conditions; feet are basically frozen and it’s a mental game at that point. The kids tried to put it out of their mind, tried to play their hardest, and they did. It’s definitely a hard way to go out,” he said. “The seniors are really disappointed with how the season’s ended ? they were looking forward to doing what no one’s done before at Basalt.”
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