Devils stampeded by Basalt
It took just three-and-a-half minutes for the Longhorns to jump out to their lead, one they would never relinquish. After that, it was Devils head coach Bob Graham who was steamed. Graham and his club fell behind 8-2 at one point in the second half, eventually falling 9-5 to Basalt, which is 9-0 in the 3A Western Slope League and carries a No. 2 state ranking.
“You can’t credit a hungry team three goals in the first three minutes,” Graham said. “Something’s fundamentally wrong with our mental preparation. The team, I thought, rebounded well. I thought we played 75 minutes of pretty good soccer against one of the best teams in the state. While it’s very nice to say you’ve scored five goals against a very good team, it’s the final score that matters.”
His team rebounded, for a while, with a Lyndsay Beasley score to narrow the score to 3-1. But the Longhorns countered with three more goals in the half to take a convincing 6-1 lead into intermission.
In the second half, sophomore Sam Phillips scored two goals, Beasley added another, and sophomore Vanissa Carroll added the final score.
How good is Basalt? The Longhorns only allowed 10 goals in their previous 13 games. Basalt’s only loss came at the hands of 5A Grand Junction Central, 2-1, and the Longhorns have outscored their opponents 79-15. The Devils’ five goals were the most the Longhorns allowed all season.
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“There’s really nothing to say,” Graham said. “Every game we’ve lost this season we’ve been down early. We just weren’t ready.”
Eagle Valley (10-5 overall) finishes the league schedule at 7-3 and clinched at least third place. Basalt finishes up Saturday against Aspen, but the Longhorns already have the league title in their pocket.
Aspen, however, stands at 6-2 overall and in second place and must win one of two remaining games to stay there. The Skiers host Roaring Fork Thursday.
Ties in record at the end of the season are broken by goals allowed, and the nine the Devils gave up Tuesday puts them well behind the Skiers.
Eagle Valley will finish, barring two Aspen losses, in third place, good enough for a bid in the state tournament starting May 11.
“A lot can happen in two weeks,” Graham said. “If we play like this, we’ll be one and out. If we figure out a way to be mentally ready to play, we could surprise some people.”