Sloppy Longhorns pull out win against Rams
For 58 minutes Thursday, Roaring Fork outhustled and outplayed Western Slope power Basalt.If only the Rams (2-2-3) could’ve thrown away the first 22. Basalt opened up a four-goal advantage halfway through the first half, and added one more during a lackluster second half en route to a 5-0 victory.”Roaring Fork played tough and had a lot more heart than we did,” Basalt coach Chris Woods said. “We had too many patches [of inconsistency]. We had really good plays, but our first touches were horrendous.”For 22 minutes Basalt (6-0-1, 3-1), which has yet to allow a goal in four league games, looked as though it would make the contest a laugher. The Longhorns controlled the ball from the first whistle and pushed the ball deep in the Rams zone. Little more than 10 minutes in, senior Maddie Hoffman wandered into the box in an attempt to control a loose ball; she was tackled from behind. Hoffman scored the first of her two goals on the ensuing penalty kick, hitting a ground ball just inside the left corner.
One minute later, sophomore Alia Munger, who was hurt during the waning minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 tie with Denver Christian and played sparingly in Tuesday’s 4-1 win over 5A Fruita Monument, scored from outside the box. Munger’s shot ricocheted off the gloves of Rams keeper Nicole Smeins and dribbled over the goal line.Basalt continued to pelt Smeins with shots and battle her for loose balls. Basalt junior Katy Staerkel corralled a ball that had bounced off the crossbar 17 minutes into the game, scoring the Longhorns’ third goal in six minutes.Staerkel and Hoffman again crowded the net on a free kick from Jessi Graf with 18 minutes to play; Hoffman pushed the ball past Smeins, giving Basalt a four-goal advantage.That was as comfortable as coach Woods or his players would get the rest of the way.
“I think we were a little too confident,” Staerkel said. “Roaring Fork had everything to gain, and we had everything to lose. It was just the opposite for us going into Fruita and Denver Christian. We relaxed a little too much.”We weren’t expecting the results we were getting, and we were fed up and angry.”For the next 58-plus minutes, Woods watched his team fail to generate quality scoring chances. The game, played in Roaring Fork’s end during much of the first, switched to midfield, where both teams continually turned the ball over. When the Longhorns did manage to pass the ball deep in the zone, Roaring Fork crowded the box, which cut down on second-chance shots. Basalt’s lone goal in the second – 13 minutes in – came on a fluke play; freshman Melissa Stewart, seemingly trapped in the corner, weaved her way around a crowd of Rams defenders before taking a shot on goal. Graf was there to control the tip.
“I can’t be too negative, and a win is a win, but we didn’t do our job,” Woods said. “Hopefully we’ll get some consistency from now on.”Basalt goalkeeper Dayne Toney, who was often stretching during the first half in an attempt to stay loose, was tested during the final 40 minutes. But the Rams, who have scored just six goals in their last five contests, could not mount a late scoring charge. The Longhorns, who will play six of their next seven at home, face Rangely at 11 a.m. Saturday.Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.