Aspen High boys soccer playoff hopes take a hit with 3-3 draw at Basalt
The Aspen High School boys soccer team’s postseason chances took a hit on Thursday after it had to settle for a wild 3-3 draw at rival Basalt.
The Skiers led 2-0 at halftime before an action-packed second half saw the Longhorns rally back for the tie in what was likely their final game of the season.
“There was just nothing to lose,” Basalt coach Brent Hayes said. “We’ve had such a long season, so to get a tie is huge. This is by far the hardest season we’ve had in like 20 years at Basalt. I’m just proud of the boys for keeping their heads and not giving up after those two goals.”
With an RPI in the lower 40s entering Thursday’s finale and only 32 making the Class 3A state tournament, Basalt understood it was playing for nothing more than pride. That, and the chance to knock their rivals out of the playoffs.
Aspen entered the game with an RPI of 31, leaving them little room for error with their final regular season game scheduled for Saturday against Grand Valley.
“It’s always a battle,” Aspen coach Dave Francis said of playing Basalt. “I think we needed two wins to be sure. So I guess we’ll be left guessing. It all becomes irrelevant if we can’t go and win that game (on Saturday).”
Aspen led 2-0 at halftime after getting goals from Nico Barlozzini and Xavier Barragan. Basalt found another gear in the second half after a penalty kick goal by Aaron Lopez with 23 minutes to play put BHS on the board.
Only a couple of minutes later, Basalt’s Gaby Bonilla scored to tie the match at 2-2.
“Our first halves have been terrible all season. It definitely helped us getting the wind,” Hayes said. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t have a break our way at the end to get the victory. It feels like we’ve had a lot of bad breaks, but what a fun game to be a part of.”
Basalt scored its third straight goal, this one from Bear Matthews, giving BHS a 3-2 lead with about 14 minutes to play. However, barely a minute later Aspen’s Alex Gordon scored on a penalty kick in what proved to be the final goal of the game.
Aspen went a man down midway through the first 10-minute overtime period, but was able to keep BHS out of the net and the match ended in the draw.
Barring any surprising RPI changes, Basalt finishes the season 5-9-1 overall. It will be the first time BHS has missed the postseason under Hayes.
Aspen, now 6-5-3 overall, hosts struggling Grand Valley (4-9-1 overall) at 1 p.m. on Saturday in what looks to be a must win for the Skiers.
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Strange is a word that will likely define the winter high school sports season. But, after numerous delays and endless doubts, that season is finally here. It will include fewer games, more masks and a lot of empty seats, but adapting to that strangeness is better than the alternative.