Titans shock Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Titans shock Basalt

Paul Conrad The Aspen Times

Tuesdays 3A state soccer tournament opener slipped right through the Longhorns hands.No. 12 Classical Academys Shea Haycock lined up a free kick from left of the net in the 25th minute, then fired a shot that caromed off Basalt goalkeeper Dayne Toneys gloves and into the net. The sophomores 3A-leading 30th goal proved to be the game winner as the Colorado Springs school avenged a 1-0 loss at Basalt in last years quarterfinals.The fifth-seeded and favored Longhorns (13-3) were reduced to sitting on the grass in stunned silence, many of them fighting back tears, after the teams second first-round exit in the last three years. In 2006, Basalt squandered a one-goal lead with five minutes remaining against Colorado Academy and lost on a penalty kick in overtime. No matter how many times you go through this, it always hurts just as much, Basalt senior Kat Fitzpatrick said. In our league, we can get away with 10 minutes of bad play. Good teams take advantage of every one of your faults.An inspired Classical Academy squad controlled the pace from the outset. While their defense shadowed and neutralized Fitzpatrick and Melissa Stewart, the Titans pushed the ball deep into the Longhorns zone, pressuring both the defense and Toney. The constant hounding produced a free kick from about 25 yards out in the 25th minute. Moments after a Basalt defender was whistled for tackling a Classical Academy player from behind, Haycock jogged up to the ball. The pint-sized forwards eyes were fixed on Toney as a wall of Longhorns formed in front of her. I was looking for any open spot, mostly one of the corners, Haycock said. And [Toney] was standing at the far corner.Haycock wound up and fired a sharp liner to the near side. Toney closed on the ball and, with both hands outstretched, looked to smother the shot. Instead, it ricocheted off her gloves. The senior keeper dove backward in an attempt to swat the ball away but came up empty.I wasnt expecting it to go in, said Haycock. When I hit it, I said Oh no, that wasnt hard enough.It was struck well, but Im sure the keeper would like another shot at it, said Titans coach Mike Fox, who was standing about 10 yards from Haycock. If you hit it hard, good things happen.Haycock said she was convinced Basalt would tie the game. The Longhorns nearly did in the final minute of the first half when they generated a 3-on-2 advantage. The attempt was squandered, however, as a result of poor spacing and timely Classical Academy defense.Basalt forced the issue a bit more at the start of the second, but still had trouble getting Fitzpatrick, Stewart and their other front-line players open looks.They clamped down on us, Woods said. We made one little mistake and that was it. They didnt make a mistake to even things up.The Longhorns best chance for a goal in the second half came on a corner kick in the 47th minute, but Stewarts attempt sailed high and wide. Noel Chiarelli found some space at the top of the box with 17 minutes remaining, but Titans goalkeeper Kerri Zynen had little trouble corralling the shot.Basalt has been a great team for a long time, and we knew wed have to bring all of our A game to beat them, Fox said. It took a lot of heart in that second half to withstand the attack they were bringing. What a difference a year makes. Basalt outshot Classical Academy, 28-7, in last seasons quarterfinal and produced the game-winner in the 79th minute when Katie Staerkel scored on a corner kick.Staerkel, now a college student, sat helplessly on the Longhorns bench Tuesday as her former teams offense sputtered.The losses didnt end on the field. Shortly after the final whistle, Woods tearfully announced he was stepping down after his eighth season. It was decision he had planned on divulging at games end regardless of the outcome. This is a tough way to end things, but thats the sport, he said. Im so proud of these kids. I learned a lot from them. Hopefully they learned a little from me, too.jmaletz@aspentimes.com

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