Late goal lifts Basalt over Roaring Fork
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – As Bertilio Garcia prepared to check into Thursday’s game, Basalt head soccer coach Brent Hayes implored his junior to use his powerful right leg and let the shots fly.
It was Garcia’s head that proved most dangerous against valley rival Roaring Fork, however. The midfielder headed home a perfect corner kick from cousin Willy Salamanca in the 74th minute to break a tie, and Basalt, which earlier had squandered a 2-0 lead, hung on for a 3-2 win – the seventh straight for the state’s seventh-ranked team.
“By no stretch were we overconfident – we saw them last Thursday kill Hotchkiss. We knew they’d be ready,” said Hayes, whose side pounded the Rams, 7-1, in Sept. 1’s season opener. “They played a great game. It was super intense, that’s for sure.”
Especially in the second half.
Despite controlling possession for the vast majority of the game, Basalt found itself locked in a tight contest after an unfortunate string of events. Senior Hector Morales lined up for a penalty kick in the 45th minute that would’ve given the Longhorns a 3-1 lead, but the Roaring Fork goalkeeper smothered both the attempt and the rebound. Less than
two minutes later, the Rams’ Sam Carpenter drilled a penalty kick past Basalt keeper Chandler Crymble, squaring the match.
“First of all, we were shocked, wondering what was going on. … [Morales] never misses,” Garcia said.
Added Hayes: “That was brutal. Terribly frustrating. You just can’t miss those shots. We’ve been doing a good job on those all season, but maybe the nerves of this big game got to Hector a little bit.
“Honestly, though, I was more frustrated about that first goal we gave up.”
The Longhorns appeared to seize control early in the first half. While Roaring Fork packed the box, routinely placing 10 players behind the ball to cut off passing lanes, Basalt still managed to find a little space with which to operate.
Salamanca found a little crease in the 15th minute, sidestepped a defender and launched a low liner into the net. About 20 minutes later, Garcia drilled a shot from about 30 yards out; the Rams keeper, situated on the near post, barely had time to react as the ball sped into the opposite corner, stretching the Longhorns’ lead to two.
Roaring Fork took advantage of a Basalt miscue, however, to answer little more than two minutes before halftime. Carpenter was taken down on the near sideline, drawing a penalty. The senior quickly lined up the free kick and lofted a perfect cross into the box; teammate Allen Garcia emerged from a crowd and headed the ball home.
“That should never have happened,” Hayes said. “You don’t go after their best player and dive in, but that’s what we did. We gave them a free kick, and they made a beautiful play.
“Halftime came at a good time. They really had us on our heels the last 10 minutes.”
That pressure increased after Carpenter’s goal, but the Longhorns maintained their composure and kept looking to attack.
“It was frustrating, but I always try to tell my guys they need to be patient. It really showed,” Hayes said. “I always say I want us to be the most fit team in the state, and we saw it today for the last 20 minutes. … We are good enough to possess around teams, and they were getting tired.”
Salamanca and Garcia took advantage.
“We were about to call one of our set plays, but they weren’t working because they had caught on to them,” Garcia recalled. “I just told my cousin to center it in. I knew from practice that he always sends it to the back post, so I just sat back and waited for it. It was perfect.
“It feels good. We’re sending a statement. We barely beat Hotchkiss [on Tuesday] and Roaring Fork today, but a win is a win. If it takes a win by one or 10, we’ll take it.”
Basalt, now 7-0, visits Aspen at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Coal Ridge struck for two goals in the final 10 minutes of the opening half, then two more in the first eight minutes of the second to blow open what was a tight game Thursday against visiting Aspen.
The Titans tacked on one more down the stretch and cruised to the 5-1 victory, handing the Skiers their fifth loss in nine games.
Coal Ridge jumped out to the early lead with a goal little more than a minute into the match. “We still hadn’t come off the bus,” Skiers head coach Junior Sutherland said.
His squad battled back to square things, then played the Titans tough for much of the first 40 minutes. Things unraveled quickly, however.
“We were definitely the better team in the first half but after those two goals [before halftime], the kids’ heads went down,” Sutherland said. “Then there were more goals at the start of the second, and that was it. … It was their homecoming today, and they were definitely up for it.”
Aspen will look to rebound Saturday, when it hosts rival Basalt. The Longhorns routed their upvalley rivals, 6-0, in Sept. 15’s meeting.
• Aspen football hosts Grand Valley, 7 p.m.
• Basalt football hosts Roaring Fork, 7 p.m.
• Aspen XC at Fruita Invitational
• Aspen tennis hosts Cedaredge and Hotchkiss, 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
• Basalt softball at Cedaredge, 10 a.m.
• Aspen volleyball hosts Olathe and Gunnison, 12 p.m. and 4 p.m.
• Basalt volleyball hosts Gunnison and Olathe, 12 and 6 p.m.
• Aspen soccer hosts Basalt, 1:30 p.m.
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