Garcia scores twice, Basalt tops Aspen |

Garcia scores twice, Basalt tops Aspen

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jim Ryan/Special to The Aspen TimesBasalt's Willy Salamanca, left, and Aspen's Nelson Orellana fight for the ball Saturday at Aspen High School.

ASPEN – Basalt head soccer coach Brent Hayes says playing tight games is good for his team – but not for his health.

“They’re starting to give me heart attacks,” Hayes joked. “It’s been pretty darn nerve-wracking.”

The Longhorns, who pulled out one-goal victories over Hotchkiss and Roaring Fork earlier this week, found themselves locked in another close battle Saturday on the turf at Aspen High. Bertilio Garcia scored twice and Basalt withstood a late Skiers surge, pulling out a

2-1 win to improve to 8-0 overall and 4-0 in conference play.

“It’s a good feeling knowing I got the win for the team,” an exuberant Garcia said afterward. “They played hard. We had to play harder to get this win.”

The Longhorns rolled to a 6-0 victory when these two teams last met Sept. 15. Things were much more competitive this time around – particularly during a physical, scoreless first half.

Little more than a minute into the second, Garcia produced a quick strike to give the visitors the lead. The junior, who scored twice Thursday against Roaring Fork – including the game winner with about 5 minutes remaining in regulation – one-timed a well-placed pass into the bottom right corner of the net.

“Sean [Ryan] gave me a good pass, and I actually was going to take another touch but just hit it with my left foot,” Garcia said. “Getting used to the turf [was difficult]. We’re a possessive team, and when you try and touch the ball and it doesn’t come to your feet, it’s just hard.”

Basalt’s struggles on the synthetic surface resulted in a host of squandered scoring chances. Shots that sailed high or wide of the Aspen net abounded.

“I’m starting to get a bit worried. … No matter how well we possess the ball, if we don’t put it in the net it doesn’t do us any good,” Hayes said. “When we get down to state, we’ll need to capitalize on those.”

Garcia capitalized once more in the 46th minute. Teammate Hector Morales lined up a free kick and quickly passed off to Garcia, who launched a low liner from just outside the box that sped past Skiers goalkeeper Erik Wehse.

“What can I say, he’s a great player,” Hayes said.

The Skiers (4-6) didn’t fold. They were dejected after Tuesday’s double-overtime loss to Rifle and outplayed in Thursday’s 5-1 loss to Coal Ridge, but hung right with the state’s sixth-ranked team Saturday.

They made things very interesting with about 16 minutes to play, when a through ball found its way into the Basalt box and freshman John Heaphey knocked home a rebound.

“I told the kids the other day every league game is going to be like this from here on out,” Hayes said. “There also was the added motivator of us being ranked in state. … When I played in those games as a kid, I knew I was playing one of the best teams and it was an extra energy boost. We wore them out in the first half, but in the second they kept pressuring us.”

Added Aspen head coach Junior Sutherland: “They battled hard for 80 minutes and did everything we asked of them. The effort was fantastic.”

Aspen will look to snap its three-game slide Thursday, when it hosts Eagle Valley at 3:30 p.m. at Iselin Field. The Longhorns host Colorado Rocky Mountain School at 4 p.m. Thursday.

• The Basalt softball team impressed on the road, cruising to 19-9 and 13-6 wins in a doubleheader against Cedaredge.

• The Aspen volleyball team struggled at home against two of the Western Slope’s top squads. The Skiers fell to Olathe, 17-25, 15-25 and 19-25, then were swept by Gunnison, 21-25, 18-25 and 16-25. They now are 5-8.

• The Longhorns volleyball team also had no luck against the Pirates and Cowboys. They fell to 3-9 after being swept in both matches by a combined score of 150-81.

• Ryley Sutton crossed the finish line in 15th place in a time of 20 minutes, 50 seconds to help lead an undermanned Aspen girls cross-country team to a fourth-place finish at the Anna Banana Memorial Invitational in Fruita. Teammates Tayler Quist (20:52), Lily Isaacson (21:24) and Emily Bonds (22:11) wound up 16th, 29th and 51st.

On the boys side, Edward Ospina was 20th in 17:34 for the Skiers, who finished ninth. Kellen Kremer (18:16), Hudson McNamee (18:42) and Taggart Sullivan (18:59) took 41st, 54th and 60th.

• The Aspen tennis team took on Cedaredge and Hotchkiss. Skiers head coach Rob Simpson did not return a call seeking comment.

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