Basalt finds redemption in East Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
EAST VAIL, Colorado ” Most Western Slope soccer teams don’t see each other twice in a month ” they play early in the year, then again later on at the other pitch.
But Basalt couldn’t have made the trip to East Vail to face Vail Mountain for the second match of the year soon enough.
Three days after the Gore Rangers knocked off the then-No.1 Longhorns, 5-4, in Basalt, spoiling in the Longhorn’s bid for a perfect record in the 3A Western Slope, the two teams met again Tuesday at Bandoni Alumni Field, with the Longhorns coming out on top, 4-0.
Basalt carried a 2-0 lead into the half in a match that had the feel of the playoffs, and added a tally in the 57th minute to take a commanding, and much sought after 3-0 lead.
“Two-to-nothing is the deadliest lead,” said Basalt’s Kat Fitzpatrick, who saw a pair of her team’s two-goal leads vanish Saturday. “We wanted to come and prove that we were the better team. We were really focused on this. Our coach said he was treating it more like a postseason game than a league game.”
After a tentative start, the Gore Rangers created some changes in the Basalt end in the final 20 minutes of the first half, and carried the momentum into the second half.
“It’s an old adage, but I think we did everything but score,” said Vail Mountain coach Bob Bandoni. “It took us about 20 minutes to get warmed up, and I was worried, but … then our midfielders were finding each other in the final 20 minutes of the first half and into the second, we just couldn’t finish.”
Basalt had several chances thwarted by Vail Mountain goalie Elsie Macsata early, but struck in the 15th minute, when Hayley Guglielmo pounced on a loose ball in the Gore Rangers’ box and rifled it into the back of the net.
Ten minutes later, the Longhorns added another tally on a picture-perfect Fitzpatrick pass. Fitzpatrick started the play by charging down the right flank with the ball, and launched a pass to the opposite post where teammate Jamie Matherly redirected it out of mid air and into the net.
“That’s something we do a lot,” said Fitzpatrick, who had a tally in the dying minutes of the match. “I try to go to the outside, cross it and hope my team is there for me. They make me look good sometimes.”
Basalt coach Chris Woods was pleased with his team’s effort all game ” something he’d stressed after Saturday’s loss.
“I was happy with the girls,” he said. “We had a lot of patience on the ball. I would have liked them to finish a lot more opportunities, but we are creating them. Come playoff time, we’ll finish whatever we get.”
While Basalt (9-1 in league) will have a playoff game, Vail Mountain (5-4-1) closed out its season.
The Gore Rangers played as hard as they did on Saturday, but just couldn’t find the net when they pushed through the Longhorns defense.
“We always rise to the competitive level,” said Vail Mountain’s Molly Etters. “I don’t know if it was (Basalt) that brought it out in us, or if it was our desire to win, but this is some of the best soccer I’ve seen our team play.”
Trailing, 3-0, Vail Mountain still pushed for a goal and fought hard to win 50/50 balls.
“We wanted to let them know our presence and let them now we were going to do the same thing as on Saturday,” Etters said. “I’m so proud of our team.”
Basalt came into Tuesday’s game on the heels of a 5-0 win against Rangely on a rare Monday matchup.
“That was a good leadup into today ” a good training session,” Woods said. “Vail is definitely the second-best team in the league. They have a great coach and a great group of girls. They play tough, but fair. It was a good loss for us Saturday. I was good to get our heads out of our butts.”
The Longhorns’ Melissa Stewart made sure there would be no comeback, tacking on a goal in the 57th minute when she collected a long pass and made a sharp move at the top of the box and rifled a shot into the right corner.
“I thought they scored a couple of real nice goals,” Bandoni said. “The game looked fairly even, possession wise it was OK. What I’m happy about is they never stopped. They kept pushing.”
Macsata, one of six seniors, had plenty of big saves that kept the Gore Rangers’ chance alive, while classmate Kelsey Peck also broke up many Basalt scoring opportunities. Seniors Etters and Lucy Sackbauer each gave great 80-minute performances, while the graduating Taylor Campbell and Joely Denkinger had great games. Despite the loss, Bandoni thought his team played one of its best matches of the season.
“We have, in the last three weeks, come up multiple levels. We have to give credit to the senior leadership, and everyone, really,” Bandoni said. “We’ve risen to the class of the league. It’s a shame we can’t go on, but you can’t always measure things by that.”
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.
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