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Basalt stumbles in Colorado Springs

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS ” The Basalt soccer team held opponents scoreless for 262 minutes to open 3A postseason play.

The Longhorns wish it had been at least 263.

Fourth-seeded Fountain Valley connected on an indirect penalty kick in the 63rd minute of Thursday’s state quarterfinal game in Colorado Springs, and 12th-seeded Basalt had no answer. Consequently, in a game rife with missed opportunities, the Longhorns bowed out in the round of eight for a third straight season.

The Danes (12-4-2), last year’s runner-up, will play Region 7 winner Hotchkiss in Saturday afternoon’s semifinals at the North Area Athletic Complex in Golden. The Bulldogs pulled off the upset of the tournament Thursday night, blanking top-seeded and unbeaten Colorado Springs Christian, 3-0.

“It shouldn’t have gone like that, but they’re still in and we’re not,” Basalt head coach John McDermott said. “It kills you, but you know, that’s the game … We just didn’t capitalize.”

The Longhorns’ best chance to score came in the opening minutes, when a Basalt forward missed a shot on a wide open net. McDermott estimated his team fired 20 shots on fountain Valley goalkeeper Wiles Larimer. But it couldn’t break through against a stingy defense that has surrendered just 22 goals in 18 games this season.

The Longhorns (11-5-2) have boasted some impressive defense of their own, shutting down No. 21 Crested Butte’s and No. 5 Weld Central’s attacks in the opening two rounds to advance to their fifth-straight quarterfinal. Basalt was the only squad seeded outside the top eight to advance to Thursday’s round, and thus far is one of just two teams in the field of 32 to knock off a lower seed; the other was rival Aspen.

The lone goal Basalt surrendered this postseason proved to be its undoing Thursday. Danes standouts John McCaffrey and Lukas Langer, who have combined for 22 goals in 2008, hooked up for Fountain Valley’s most important score to date.

A Longhorns penalty in the 63rd minute gave the Danes the ball on an indirect kick from about 40 yards out. Langer lofted the ensuing shot into a crowded box, and McCaffrey headed the ball past Basalt goalkeeper Scott Riggins.

“[We] played very well, but it’s just unfortunate,” McDermott said. “That’s the kind of day it was.”

The Longhorns have had no luck in recent quarterfinals. They lost to Colorado Academy in 2006’s round of eight, then Kent Denver last season.

As a result, Basalt’s first trip back to the semifinals since 2005 will be put on hold for at least one more year.

“This was a team that could’ve done it, but they didn’t so it’s back to the drawing board,” McDermott said. “It was a good season, though. We can’t really complain. A lot of teams would’ve liked to have a season like this.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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