Girls soccer: Aspen nips Basalt |

Girls soccer: Aspen nips Basalt

Aspen's Claire O'Sullivan (left) and Arley Gordon (11) battle for the soccer ball during Tuesday afternoon's game at Basalt High School. Aspen finished with a 2-1 victory.
Jim Ryan / Special to The Aspen Times |

BASALT — John Gillies scratched his head and smiled.

A few minutes earlier, Gillies scratched his head and grimaced.

But now, with an agonizing 2-1 soccer victory in hand, Gillies smiled again.

“A local derby … it’s always going to be like that,” the Aspen High School girls coach said of Tuesday’s back-and-forth rivalry match at Basalt High School.

After a barrage of 14 first-half shots against the homestanding Longhorns, the Skiers were knotted in a scoreless and sunny halftime tie.

Gillies said his halftime reminder of Aspen’s frustrating loss at Moffat County earlier this season produced the opposite effect on the field: The Longhorns took the opening possession of the second half and marched down into Skiers’ territory with Callie Card pushing through the last of the defenders to score, giving Basalt an emotional 1-0 lead just 26 seconds into the half.

“We were more like a circus act than a soccer team,” Gillies said of the eye-opening goal that inspired the home Horns on their senior day.

“They outdid us; we were stunned for a few minutes,” the Aspen head coach said.

After Aspen’s Erin Spence and Logan McNamee pushed the attack into the Basalt end, the Skiers tied the match on a left-footed shot from Lindzhi Douglas that smashed into the upper right post and ricocheted into the goal — 1-1.

The 1-1 stalemate continued with the Longhorns making attack runs with the tireless Kaity Johnson and Stina Peterson, among others.

With 11 minutes to play in the 40-minute second half, the Skiers launched a counterattack.

Arley Gordon sliced a crossing pass into the middle, and McNamee lofted the ball up and over the keeper into the net for a 2-1 Aspen lead.

“We pushed Logan (McNamee) out wide on the left,” Gillies said after the Skiers’ leading scorer drew defensive attention. “Obviously, she’s going to get marked.”

The space on the side allowed her to break into the middle for the pass from Gordon, Gillies said.

“They outdid us for a stretch,” Gillies said, crediting the Longhorns with a spirited contest.

“This takes us (to) third in the league, and we’ll get seeded for state (playoffs),” Gillies said after the Skiers improved to 11-3-0 overall, 8-3-0 in the 3A Western Slope League. “We’ll probably go to Denver and play a Denver team.”

The seedings for the Class 3A state soccer playoffs will be announced next week.

Aspen will host Eagle Valley at 4 p.m. Thursday in a nonleague match.

Basalt nearly spoiled Aspen’s entry into the state soccer playoffs.

A bevy of second-half shots put the Longhorns in position for the upset.

The Basalt girls moved to 4-9-1 overall, 2-6-1 in conference.

The Longhorns honored their seven seniors in a pregame ceremony Tuesday at the BHS soccer field.

The BHS seniors are Daniela Chissum, Devin Williams, Jamie Briscoe, Jenny Govea, Stina Peterson, Victoria Silva and Nikole Simecek.

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