Basalt soccer faces familiar foe to open state tournament
Hello, old friend.
When the Basalt High School boys soccer team starts play Friday at the Class 3A state tournament, it will be against a team it’s seen more than a few times over recent years.
“They are kind of a nemesis of ours. We play them first game of every season and this will be the third time in the last seven years, I think, that we’ve played them at state,” Basalt coach Brent Hayes said. “It’s always nice knowing them a little bit, but it would be nice to play another team. At least you know what they are about and there won’t be any surprises. In that sense, it’s good.”
The Longhorns (10-5 overall), seeded No. 11 in the 32-team, single-elimination tournament, will face No. 22 seed Denver Christian (9-5-1 overall) at 4 p.m. Friday in the first round, a game hosted by Jefferson Academy in Broomfield.
The two teams met as recently as Basalt’s first game this season, a 4-1 win for the Longhorns on Sept. 2 in a tournament hosted by Kent Denver.
“We did beat them earlier, which doesn’t mean a whole lot this time of year because things change so much,” Hayes said. “We have yet to beat them at state. I do like the seed that we have. I think it’s a fair seed.”
The last time Basalt and Denver Christian met in the postseason came in the first round of the 3A tournament in 2013, a 3-2 win for the Thunder. The Longhorns have to go back to the 2012 season to find their last playoff victory, a 1-0 win over Pagosa Springs in the first round.
Basalt lost 1-0 to Faith Christian in the second round of the 2012 state tournament.
“Last year was extremely bitter. We played a terrible game against really an inferior opponent and lost,” Hayes said of a 3-2 first-round loss to Sheridan last fall. “I hope between the combo of that feeling and losing to Aspen in a game where I don’t think they were quite mentally prepared, hopefully that sticks with them a little bit. It would be nice to get out of the first round and represent the valley a little bit better than we have in the past.”
The Longhorns finished the season with a swing of emotions. First came a 2-1 win over Vail Mountain — a team seeded fourth in this year’s state tournament — on senior day, before a 1-0 loss to the Skiers on their turf field to finish the regular season.
With Friday’s game being played on grass, Hayes likes where his team sits entering the tournament.
“I feel confident. If we play a good game, we can beat them,” Hayes said. “We’ve had a history this season of getting up for some games and then kind of letting our guard down for other games.”
Should Basalt win Friday’s 4 p.m. game against Denver Christian, it would face the winner of No. 6 Jefferson Academy and No. 27 William Smith at 1 p.m. Saturday in the second round.
Kent Denver, a team Basalt lost 5-2 against early in the season, is the tournament’s No. 1 seed. Roaring Fork made the 3A tournament as a No. 30 seed and faces No. 3 Colorado Academy in the first round. Aspen did not make the state tournament.