Soccer: Basalt girls hold off rival Aspen | AspenTimes.com
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Soccer: Basalt girls hold off rival Aspen

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Jim Ryan/Special to The Aspen TimesSkiers junior Annie Graber, left, attempts to knock the ball away from Basalt's Julia Kaputska as Leighanne Jenkins follows the play Thursday at Aspen High School.
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ASPEN – Many Basalt girls soccer players stood motionless for large stretches of the second half Thursday; head coach Makenzie Eshelman joked that they might have been frozen.

The Longhorns came to life in the waning minutes, however, to secure a road win against rival Aspen.

Stephanie Alvarado controlled a well-placed pass from Ginevra Moore in the 73rd minute and confidently ripped a low liner past Skiers goaltender Sally McGuren. The goal, Alvarado’s second of the match, helped give Basalt some rare breathing room and a second shutout win to open the 2011 season.

“That’s the kind of passing we’re looking for at all times,” Eshelman said of the final score. “It’s still early, but we’re starting to fit the pieces of the puzzle together. … We’re having some connection issues between defenders and forwards, but we made more attempts and they’re getting it. They’re starting to get their soccer brains turned back on.”

That was evident on this frigid, snowy afternoon. The Longhorns were the aggressors in the early going, and that effort produced a score in the sixth minute.

Moore was in the middle of the action once again. She dribbled up the near sideline and managed to advance the ball before colliding with an on-rushing McGuren; it slowly skidded across the damp turf and toward the far post, where Alvarado was waiting to convert an easy tap-in.

“The mistake was [McGuren] hesitated,” Aspen head coach John Gillies said. “She had a big forward coming toward her, and she should’ve charged through. She just missed the ball. … The girls were disappointed to let in such a soft goal.”

Added Eshelman: “That felt good, just to settle us down. It gave us the confidence to play a little looser and take more chances.

“It made me feel a little better on the sideline, but 1-0 is the most terrifying score in sports.”

The tension mounted in the second half, as the Skiers controlled possession and appeared primed to produce the equalizer. Multiple scoring chances unraveled steps from the Basalt net, however.

“I thought we’d score. I was thinking it would be 1-1 and go to overtime,” said Gillies, whose squad lost in overtime and battled to a draw in two regular-season meetings with the Longhorns in 2010.

“Unfortunately, Basalt tactically beat us. They know our players, and they stopped them. That put an awful lot of pressure on our defenders. … Our defense played well. They just got tired in the end.”

Alvarado and the Longhorns took advantage. They’ll look to improve to 3-0 Saturday, when they take on Vail Mountain School in Glenwood Springs.

Aspen will look to rebound at 9 a.m. Saturday on the road against Coal Ridge.

“This was a good experience for them. The good thing was it wasn’t a league game,” Gillies said. “We’ll learn from it. I certainly know they won’t be frightened about playing Basalt next time.”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com


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