Basalt rallies, stuns Aspen in five games |

Basalt rallies, stuns Aspen in five games

Aspen senior Elyse Boelens pops one back to Basalt during the Skiers' second-match win Saturday afternoon at Basalt High. The Longhorns came back from 0-2 to defeat the Skiers, 3-2. (Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times)

It was all but over for Basalt in Saturday’s volleyball match with rival Aspen.Following two games in which they looked overpowered and outmatched, the Longhorns trailed in game three, 18-11. With a homecoming dance scheduled for later in the evening, it looked like Basalt would be heading home a little early to get ready.Something finally clicked, however. Basalt pulled out a tight Game 3 win, 28-26, and didn’t look back, taking the next two games to pull out the 3-2 victory.”I believed,” Basalt coach Dan Drozd said. “We started hustling and brought it to them. We looked like a whole new team out there.”Trailing 18-11, the Longhorns responded, winning 11 of the next 13 points. Aspen junior Haley Ortmann’s kill tied the game at 26, but Basalt scored the final two points on Skiers errors. First, Robin Landis hit her crossing shot wide, then Megan Raczak could not control a ball that had been hit into the center of the net.Aspen looked like it had regained its composure early in Game 4, jumping out to a quick 10-3 lead with strong play at the net by Raczak and junior Kyla Walter. The Aspen offense, however, looked tentative. The Skiers were flagged for multiple net violations; passing shots and attempted kills were not carrying over the net. They were outscored 22-9 to close out the game by the Longhorns. When Basalt opened the deciding game with a 8-2 run, Aspen coach Sarah Benson called a time-out to slow the Longhorn’s momentum. It didn’t work. Basalt’s 15-6 victory completed the come-form-behind victory.”I think we were still upset from last night [against Hotchkiss] and it carried over early,” Basalt junior Bailey Holmes said. “I don’t know how it happened, but we started playing like a team. It’s exciting when everyone is on at the same time.” An attacking Aspen offense turned Basalt’s smiles into frustration and worry early as it outscored the Longhorns 50-30 in Games 1 and 2. The Skiers were communicating and pressuring Basalt by keeping almost every ball in play. They executed on well-placed drop shots and benefited from opportune bounces as well. When a ball ricocheted off a basketball hoop in Game 1, Raczak retreated to the end line to attempt a bump; the ball hit the lip of the net and fell onto Basalt’s side.But just as quickly as Aspen’s intensity emerged, it vanished. Aspen coach Sarah Benson said her team simply quit.”I’m extremely frustrated. When players quit, there is nothing you can do as a coach,” Benson said. “When they were trailing 8-4 in the fifth game, I called a time-out and they all had their heads down. They beat themselves.”Aspen will look to rebound Tuesday at home against Roaring Fork at 6 p.m. Basalt hosts Olathe Thursday at 6 p.m. before heading to Aspen Saturday at 5:30 p.m. Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is

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