Basalt soccer advances to final 8
Aspen Times Staff Writer
After allowing seven goals in their last two wins, the Basalt High girls soccer team was looking to shore up its defense in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
Basalt, the No. 2 seed in the 16-team field, managed to do so in style Thursday afternoon with a 8-0 win over No. 15 Ridgway at the BHS field. Sophomore goalie Autumn Caughern recorded her first career postseason shutout.
“Our defense played great today,” said BHS coach Heather Walker. “They didn’t let too many attacks get close to our net, which is a great improvement for us.”
“And the whole team passed well and talked well, which we’ve struggled with lately, so it was good to see us getting back to normal,” Walker added.
Basalt’s Big Three of sophomore Ashley Eaton, junior Mariah Mulcahy and senior Molly McGrath all figured into the scoring with two goals apiece. All three of the Big Three ranked in the top 10 in scoring in Colorado’s Class 3A during the regular season. Eaton led all scorers in assists with 23, along with 16 goals for 39 points, while McGrath had 20 goals and 10 assists, and Mulcahy netted 19 goals and five assists.
Seniors Lauren Flood and Stephanie Kemp also had one goal each. Sophomore Brittany Pollock recorded two assists, and sophomore Ukare Sano had one assist, along with Mulcahy and McGrath.
“It’s nice to know that a team can’t mark any single player and stop our scoring,” Walker said. “The three of them work real well together, and with everyone else for that matter, and no one’s selfish.”
Basalt, now 14-1 and the winner of 12-straight games, is likely to face No. 7 D’Evelyn (10-4-1) in the second round. (D’Evelyn was scheduled to play No. 10 Fountain Valley on Friday.)
Since Basalt is the higher seed, BHS will host its second-round opponent, whoever it is. Should the favorite D’Evelyn advance, Basalt will host the match on Monday at 4 p.m. at the BHS.
“It’s a relief to get this game over with,” Walker admitted Thursday evening. “You have to be careful not to overlook anyone, and still we’ve been looking at D’Evelyn because they’re a strong team. So now that we’ve got the win, we’re done with it, we can focus on D’Evelyn; of course, if they win.”
Last year, Basalt advanced to the final four for the first time in school history, an improvement from the year before when BHS made it to the round of eight. Walker said that experience has helped the team focus on the difficult business of playoff soccer.
“It’s been hard to keep the focus [on Ridgway], but now we really have to focus on one game at a time. Everyone’s solid in the final eight, and we’re excited to play a good team,” she continued.
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