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‘Horns run over Aspen

Nate Peterson
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times
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The Aspen girls soccer team has had one outdoor practice this spring. It showed Thursday against rival Basalt, as the undefeated Longhorns routed the Skiers, 8-0, in a snowstorm.Basalt junior forward Katie Staerkel scored three goals in the first 11 minutes, and the Longhorns (4-0, 3-0) led 5-0 after just 20 minutes of play.”That’s a dream start, you know,” Basalt coach Chris Woods said. “I think we worked out their game plan pretty quickly and exploited it. Everything came off.” “It feels incredible, just to come out here and be able to get right on them,” Staerkel said. “I think it helped our team a lot just to know that we could come out here and win the game very quickly.” Staerkel’s first goal came off an arcing shot from the left side that flew over the outstretched hands of Aspen goalie Grace Seigle and dropped into the net.

Five minutes later, Staerkel scored her second off an overhead assist from sophomore midfielder Jessi Graf. Graf lofted a ball over Aspen’s back line, then Staerkel tracked it down for a one-on-one opportunity with Seigle.Seigle’s day went from bad to worse a few minutes later after a collision with Basalt’s Katheryne Fitzpatrick during a scramble for a loose ball in the box. Seigle got off the turf to finish the first half in goal, but she didn’t play the second half after complaining of neck pain and a headache.”Gracie took a knock,” Aspen coach Jon Gillies said. “I don’t know how the [Basalt] player stayed on the field for that because it was obvious she was trying to take out the goalie. Gracie certainly came off concussed.”Fitzpatrick failed to shoot before the collision, but she made amends a few minutes later after tiptoeing between two defenders, then blasting a shot with her left foot that found the back of the net. The stunned Skiers (3-1) then watched Staerkel knock home her third of the day just a minute later after another overhead ball from Graf. After that, the Skiers settled down, allowing just one more goal in the half -the first of two from freshman Melissa Stewart. “I just think we want it so bad, we just kind of psych ourselves out,” said Aspen junior Taylor Buzbee, who led the Skiers with four shots. “Once those couple of goals went in for them, we settled down and we started playing on their level. I mean, I don’t know, it just never seems to fall our way. They just kept sending balls over the top, and it seemed like we couldn’t catch up. It seemed liked there wasn’t anything that we could have done.”

Marissa Lindahl, a freshman from the JV team with no experience in goal, replaced Seigle in the second half. Gillies said he didn’t consider replacing Seigle with senior Carly Magill, who started in goal for the Skiers last year and a season-opening win over Olathe.”We felt for the second half that we just wanted to try and score a goal,” Gillies said. “We needed to come out and have a bit of pride and to not take out one of our forwards for someone who is going to kick the ball aimlessly forward. I’d rather sacrifice more goals just to get one goal.”The Skiers got closer to that one goal, but it never happened as sophomore keeper Dayne Toney continued to thwart Buzbee and the rest of Aspen’s forwards. There were stretches of of aggressive play in the second half where it appeared both teams were evenly matched, but Basalt continued to remind the Skiers who was dominant. The Longhorns’ sixth goal came from Graf in the 44th minute, before senior forward Maddie Hoffman punched in the seventh goal six minutes later off an assist from Staerkel.Stewart finally broke the monotony in the 70th minute with her second of the game.If anything, the loss was a lesson for Aspen after three wins to open the season, including a 7-0 drubbing of CRMS on Wednesday, Gillies said.

“We need to be competing with kids like this if we want to do anything, and to do that we need to be playing together,” Gillies said. “What’s going on is that they know what movement they’re doing. They know what plays they’re doing. They’ve had time to come out on the grass. They’ve played together in the fall season. … But does Basalt have four mountains and two ice rinks? It’s more of a sport, more of a community sport for them. Until our kids realize that we need to play more together, we’re getting cheers for heading the ball. We’re getting cheers for slide tackles and kicking the ball out of play. That’s when you realize it’s not good.”The next game is further down the line,” Gillies added. “We’ve got the rest of the season before we have to play them again. I’d like to say I was shocked, but it’s something we come across at least twice a year when we play Basalt.”Woods said he was impressed by Aspen’s resolve.”We know it’s a tough game against them, but they didn’t give up until the 91st minute,” he said. “Like I said to the girls, it’s pretty good. It was a little hard not to look forward to Denver Christian on Saturday. That’s going to be a huge test.”The Longhorns take on the Crusaders in Denver at 2 p.m. Saturday. Aspen next plays at Rangely at 11 a.m. Saturday.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com


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