Longhorns soccer earns playoff spot
EAST VAIL ” Revenge was sweet for Basalt, but figuring out who may win the 3A Western Slope may require an advanced degree in mathematics.
Atoning for a 1-0 loss to the Gore Rangers at home, Basalt returned the favor on Vail Mountain’s pitch, Bandoni Alumni Field, with a convincing 3-0 victory Saturday, throwing the league title chase into a maze of tiebreakers.
Basalt jumped out early on a Tony Bobb goal from Christian Gallegos and never looked back.
“Revenge is sweet. We knew we could beat them,” Basalt’s Mike Eaton said. “They played off our mistakes last game and got that goal. This game, we worked on playing together as a team. It was just good.”
“That was part of the game plan,” said Basalt assistant coach Aaron Anderson, filling in for absent head coach John McDermott. “We fell behind last game, and that rattled us. So we made sure we jumped ahead this time.”
VMS’s comeback attempt was short-circuited when goalie Sean Minett collided with a teammate and sustained a concussion. He left the field in an ambulance as a precautionary measure.
“All season long, the team’s response to any kind of adversity has been mature,” VMS coach Bob Bandoni said. “It has been noble. Here we have it in front of us again in a very tumultuous situation of emotions with the injury. It seemed to be difficult for us to will ourselves to any kind of decent possession. You could feel it.”
With the win, Basalt locked up one of the two Western Slope 3A berths. Vail Mountain can clinch the other with wins at Roaring Fork Tuesday and against Aspen Saturday at home.
As for the league title, that starts to get messy. Basalt is 9-1, while the Gore Rangers are 8-1. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head play. The two teams split.
The second is record against the next best team in the Western Slope. Basalt is 2-0 against Aspen. VMS beat the Skiers on the road and has them again on Saturday, and Basalt certainly be rooting for Aspen. An Aspen win or tie give the Longhorns the title.
If VMS beats Aspen Saturday, it goes to head-to-head results against the other opponents in the league. Given the way both Basalt and VMS have held serve all year, this will also likely be a tie.
So it comes down to goals allowed in league play. Here, Basalt holds the advantage over VMS, 9-7, through Saturday’s game. If the Longhorns and Gore Rangers end up tied at the end of the season in goals allowed in league, it goes to goals allowed against 3A opponents, in which case VMS takes the title.
Or as Anderson put it at the end of the game, “That’s why I said you can’t worry about this. You just win the game and try to worry about the next.”
The game itself, though much anticipated, wasn’t much. Minett’s injury did take a lot of luster out of it. Nevertheless, Basalt led, 1-0, before Minett left the game, and kept going after the lengthy timeout.
Gallegos struck immediately after the reset with a lovely strike from outside the 18. A few minutes later, Matt Whittier all but iced the proceedings for a 3-0 lead.
Though VMS back-up goalie Matt Stovall played well, the Gore Rangers were visibly shaken by the loss of Minett. Bandoni visited the goalie after the game at the Vail Valley Medical Center and said that Minett was in relatively good shape, but there for observation.
Basalt is at CRMS Tuesday, while VMS goes to Roaring Fork. Both games begin at 4 p.m.
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Once the Aspen High School defense woke up — random 4 p.m. kickoffs need some getting used to — the Skiers were able to dictate Saturday’s football game en route to a 22-7 victory over visiting Steamboat Springs on the AHS turf.