Basalt sneaks by the Titans
NEW CASTLE The Basalt soccer team made interim coach Makenzie Holmes sweat Saturday in Coal Ridge.The Longhorns fired 22 shots, but came away with just two goals. And, in a game where two regulars were missing and a star forward sat out much of the second half after suffering an injury, Basalt relied on an own goal from the Titans and a favorable call on a shot that hit the inside off the crossbar to pull out the 2-1 win – its second consecutive one-goal victory.The Longhorns (12-1 overall, 10-0 3A Western Slope) outlasted Vail Mountain School, 1-0, on Tuesday.”They were trying to give me a heart attack,” joked Holmes, the school’s junior varsity coach. She was filling in for Chris Woods, whose wife had a baby Friday. “We couldn’t make anything. They were shooting too soft, then too hard. We sent four shots over the crossbar and one hit off the crossbar. And apparently, we love kicking at the goalie.”Basalt dominated from the open against the Titans, whom it beat 6-0 during a previous meeting, but had trouble breaking through. The Longhorns benefited from an advantageous bounce to strike first in the 38th minute. Alia Munger crossed the ball into a crowded box, and the ball deflected off three Basalt players. One Titans defender attempted to clear, but the ball bounced off her and into the net.Coal Ridge answered back early in the second. A Basalt defender whiffed on an attempted clear at the top of the box, and a Titans forward fired a shot past goalkeeper Bailey Holmes to tie the game. Holmes started in place of Dayne Toney who, along with defenseman Liz Nemiec, missed the game to attend a volleyball tournament.”It was a defensive breakdown,” Makenzie Holmes said. “We had one girl filling in on one side who usually plays halfback and a new goalie, so there was some miscommunication. I could see that [our players] were getting mad. I could see the emotion, and they picked up their intensity.” Fifteen minutes into the second half, Basalt took the lead for good. Katie Staerkel dribbled downfield then passed off to Alissa Leslie. Leslie fired a shot that hit the inside of the crossbar. After a few moments of deliberation, referees decided to count the goal.The play may have proved costly, however. Staerkel wound up on the ground after rolling her ankle during a scuffle in front of the goal.”When she hobbled off the field, it made my stomach drop,” Holmes said. Holmes expects Staerkel to play when the Longhorns host rival Aspen on Thursday at 4 p.m. She’s also hoping that Basalt’s offensive production – it’s averaging nearly five and a half goals per game – also returns.”I’m not worried because it’s not that we’re not playing well,” Holmes said. “We’re just in a little bit of a funk and can’t put the ball in the net. We’ll peak. Our track record shows that we know how to score.”
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