Soccer: Salamanca, Basalt pound CRMS
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE – The Basalt soccer team is back to full strength and back on track.
The Longhorns shook off Saturday’s frustrating loss to 4A Battle Mountain, dominating valley rival Colorado Rocky Mountain School from the outset Tuesday in Carbondale. Basalt struck for two goals in the first 12 minutes, four in each half and cruised to an 8-0 victory over the Oysters.
Willy Salamanca connected four times for the Longhorns, who now are 8-4-1 overall and 4-1-1 in 3A Region 3 play. With a win at home Thursday against Vail Mountain School, they will secure second place in the conference and a postseason berth.
“It was a good effort, and it was nice getting three players back we didn’t have for a week,” Longhorns head coach Brent Hayes said. “I wanted to get a lot of goals, and I thought we might have a chance to do that. Going into the postseason … I wanted the game to look like this. It was a pretty emphatic victory.”
A team that couldn’t score Saturday against the Huskies wasted little time finding the back of the net Tuesday. With a defender at his back nine minutes into the opening half, Salamanca controlled a cross with his chest, took a quick touch and drilled a strike off the post and in.
Three minutes later, Elmer Rodriguez found some open space about 20 yards out and hit a sharp-bending line drive that clipped nylon.
“I decided to take shots today. I’m glad I did,” Rodriguez said. “We had a difficult first half against Battle Mountain. … We took it out on this team. We played well and touched the ball more. It was good.”
Sean Ryan set up a third Basalt score in the 22nd minute, when he sprinted up the far sideline, then alertly lofted a perfect cross into the box that a streaking Salamanca knocked past CRMS goalkeeper Alex Henderson.
Salamanca, who missed time last week because of undisclosed eligibility issues, slipped past no fewer than two defenders in the 36th minute and secured a hat trick with a well-placed shot.
“We tend to play away from pressure, then right back into it, and it’s driving me crazy,” Hayes said. “The fact that we didn’t do that today, and that we got the ball to the other side or to the middle where it needed to be was encouraging.”
Jerson Orellana slipped behind the defense and scored in the 44th minute, then Rodriguez followed soon after with an accurate boot off a free kick to extend the onslaught.
Josue Fernandez cleaned up a rebound steps in front of the cage, then Salamanca corralled a pass from Edwin Meraz, evaded a defender and connected to finish off the scoring – and the Oysters.
Now, the Longhorns set their sights on Thursday’s matchup with the Gore Rangers.
“If we take care of business, we’ll come in second,” Hayes said. “That’s good enough to get a decent seed.”
Added Rodriguez, “We’re ready for Thursday. Definitely ready.”
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American giant slalom stud Ted Ligety won six times at Birds of Prey, be it five World Cups and/or gold in the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships, but we have to remember what a struggle it was for him to get there.