Second-half surge propels Basalt girls |

Second-half surge propels Basalt girls

Jon MaletzThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad The Aspen Times

BASALT Basalt soccer coach Chris Woods should consider delivering his halftime speeches before games.One day after erupting for eight goals in the final 40 minutes of a 10-0 blowout against Vail Christian, four Longhorns scored in the second half to break open a close game with conference foe Coal Ridge. Basalt went on to blank the Titans, 6-0.

“I told the girls that in the first 10 minutes of the second half, they were going to throw everything at us,” Woods said. “And if we could come out of that on top, that would help us.”Success. The Longhorns (8-1 overall, 5-0 3A Western Slope) scored twice in the first eight minutes of the second to all but seal the match. Noel Chiarelli lofted a perfect pass to Kat Fitzpatrick, who outran two defenders and beat Titans goalkeeper Tori Verdieck. Hailey Guglielmo then received a pass on a run up the left side and, with a defender draped all over her, hit a slow grounder that limped into the bottom right corner of the net.”I felt like we played pretty even with them in the first half, and we were forcing them to take really long, tough shots,” Coal Ridge coach Brian Blair said. “In the second half, they got behind our defense. … It got away from us. When we play like that, we’re pretty average.”The Titans had a chance to trim the deficit to three after a Basalt defender was whistled for a hand ball in the box in the 52nd minute. Longhorns goalkeeper Dayne Toney picked an opportune time to log her first save, however, diving to her left to thwart Sam Wilson’s shot.

Heather Nemiec and Jamie Matherly scored three minutes apart in the final 10 minutes to give Basalt its winning margin.This game was anything but a runaway, however, during a first half dominated by physical play. The Longhorns caught a break in the seventh minute when a Coal Ridge defender was whistled for a hand ball in the box, and Melissa Stewart converted on the ensuing penalty kick. Both coaches agreed it was the next goal – Guglielmo connected less than two minutes before halftime – that was the match’s pivotal moment. “It was a back-breaker,” Blair said. “The hand ball, oh well. It could’ve been 0-0 at the half. Then there’s a nice save, and nobody covers the backside. It’s like they said, ‘[Verdieck] gets it or she doesn’t.’ We gave up.””I subbed out Kat and Melissa and told them we deserved a second goal,” Woods said. “We had worked too hard.”

Fitzpatrick dribbled up the right side, and fired a shot from a sharp angle that Verdieck deflected. Guglielmo found herself all alone on the far post when the ball squirted out to her; both the senior and her teammates held their breaths when Guglielmo’s tap-in narrowly sailed under the crossbar. “I was a little scared,” Guglielmo said. “I like to keep it exciting.”The Longhorns have been exciting on offense of late, outscoring opponents, 30-0, in their last four games. They host Roaring Fork at 4 p.m.

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