Soccer: Basalt goes 1-1 in Denver tournament
Basalt High School boys soccer coach Brent Hayes has no problem throwing his players into the fire to start the season. In order to become the best, he believes in playing the best teams out there, and you might as well start in week one.
“It’s a good experience to get down there,” Hayes said. “It’s tough, but that’s why I like to go down to play on turf and play some of the best teams in the state.”
The Longhorns opened their season this weekend at the Sun Devil Tournament, hosted by two-time defending Class 3A state champion Kent Denver. Basalt went 1-1 over two days, beginning Friday with a 4-1 win against Denver Christian, a 15-seed in last year’s state tournament.
Bear Matthews was the star of the first game, netting the hat trick, with Kyle Hofferbert recording the fourth goal.
Saturday, the Longhorns got their chance at Kent Denver, falling to a physically bigger team, 5-2. BHS goals were scored by Pablo Rivera and Brayon Ayon.
“We certainly won’t play a more physical team than (Kent Denver), all year. Our next opponent that is physical is always Aspen,” Hayes said. “We had them rattled because we were actually fighting back. They are a very physical, hard-hitting team, and they are not used to people hitting back. So I was pretty proud of the team for doing that.”
Basalt (1-1) is heavy on seniors and freshmen, with seven freshmen having seen the field Saturday against Kent Denver. The Longhorns are starting the season without three key returners from last season, including their goalkeeper and starting striker, due to eligibility issues. They should be able to return Oct. 13.
“None of these guys had really played together, so that was another encouraging thing,” Hayes said. “They are very talented, but small. It’s very much a season where I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. But we are not starting 0-5 like we did last year, so that’s a good start.”
Basalt is off until 4 p.m. Thursday, when it hosts Aspen.
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Like most high school sports programs across the nation right now, Garfield County athletics directors are seeing fewer applicants for open coaching positions. Five years ago vacant positions were filled within just a couple of days.