‘Horns clinch 8th straight league title | AspenTimes.com

‘Horns clinch 8th straight league title

Tim Mutrie
Aspen Highs Haley Ortmann, front, defends as Basalts Katie Staerkel (19) watches her shot on goal Thursday at the AHS field. Aspen Times photo/Mark Fox.

Striker Katie Staerkel scored a hat trick and the Basalt High girls soccer team routed Aspen 6-nil to clinch an eighth-straight Class 3A Western Slope League title Thursday afternoon at the AHS field.That’s right, the Basalt machine has now won eight in a row.Forward Maddie Hoffman added two goals and assisted on one of Staerkel’s, and Darbi Scherer and Dayne Toney shared the goal-tending duties and the shutout.”The most impressive thing today was the zero,” said Basalt coach Chris Woods. “That was the goal.”

With three matches left in the regular season, Basalt stands at 8-0 in league play and 9-3 overall. Aspen, poised to finish in the second spot in the league with just two games to play, dropped to 5-7-1 overall and 4-3-1 in the league.Basalt’s Jessi Graf scored a goal and had an assist, and Liz Nemiec and Kari Heuer made assists.”I thought we did a good job of holding down Jessi Graf,” said Aspen coach John Gillies, “but they’ve got talent all around. We had the passion today, and it was a good physical game, but they were too much.”A mix of snow and rain stopped just before kickoff, making for soggy field conditions, particularly in the first half, and a rather brisk afternoon. One young fan halted Gillies in mid-pace along the sidelines with a question. “Why don’t soccer players wear pants?” the girl wondered. Usually unflappable, Gillies, who was wearing warm-up pants, was stumped.

And later, after scoring a goal in the second half, Hoffman was forced to retreat to the bench for a towel to wipe mud off her face.Basalt went up 2-0 in the first on goals from Hoffman and Graf, and the Basalt defense limited Aspen to only a few quality shots on goal.”As soon as the field dried out in the second half, everything started to open up for us,” said Woods. “And they were good-looking goals. Katie and Maddie just ran their defense around, wore ’em out.”Basalt travels to face Montrose in a nonleague match Saturday. The Longhorns wrap up their regular season schedule at CRMS on Monday and against Roaring Fork at home Tuesday. Both games start at 4 p.m.

Aspen hosts league rival Rangely at 11 a.m. Saturday and concludes the regular season against Vail Mountain at home on Tuesday at 4 p.m.Tim Mutrie’s e-mail address is mutrie@aspentimes.com

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