BASALT – Lightning didn’t strike, but Durango senior Nick Aggeler did.
In a showdown soccer match delayed by lightning for an hour and 15 minutes, Aggeler scored the only goal, and the visiting Durango Demons beat the Basalt High School boys soccer team 1-0 on a stormy Friday afternoon at the BHS soccer field.
After working out of their own end following a close call on a Basalt penalty kick, the Demons passed the ball up the middle of the field early in the second half of a scoreless nonleague match.
Durango senior Zeb Soignier tipped the ball ahead to Aggeler, who kept his feet despite a collapsing and active Basalt defense.
Aggeler controlled the ball, firing a knee-high, left-footed line drive just inside the left post — the only one of 20 shots against the Class 3A Longhorns to get past junior goalkeeper Adrian Lujan.
“That’s as good a team as we’ll see all year,” Basalt head coach Brent Hayes said of the Class 4A Demons (2-0-0). “We knew they would be a good team. And they are a very, very disciplined team.”
Hayes said he was pleased with his team’s ability to compete against the big and senior-dominated roster from Durango.
“They (Demons) were good at spreading the field wide very quickly,” Hayes said. “It was good for us to go against that.”
The Longhorns, ranked No. 3 in Class 3A in the CHSAA coaches poll, lost for the first time (3-1-0).
While disappointed with the loss, Hayes said he scheduled tough teams from good programs to help the Longhorns improve.
“I schedule these 4A games for a reason. You’ve got to play hard teams. This is the kind of team we have to play ... in the playoffs,” said Hayes, who has led the Longhorns into the 3A state playoffs for six consecutive seasons.
“We had our chances, though,” the Basalt coach said. “The first half of each half, I thought we played with them.”
The Longhorns managed four shots on goal in the first half and five in the second, including a penalty kick that drifted just wide right against Durango senior keeper Patrick Leach.
“You can’t miss opportunities when you play against a team that can control things like that,” Hayes said. “But it was more than the PK.”
Basalt’s Juan Abrego offered challenging shots that Leach saved.
Ivan Loya, Hector Chacon and Ever Bonilla also pushed the attack for the Longhorns, who just completed the busiest stretch of their schedule.
“I have to give the boys credit. They played their fourth game in the last 10 days ... we’re tired,” Hayes said. “But they never stopped fighting; that’s good.”
Dalon Parker, Durango’s first-year head coach, made his first trip to Basalt — and he liked what he saw, except for the scary lightning that delayed the game.
“We played solid. We played solid in the back,” Parker said. “We had a few blemishes, a few mistakes, like anyone would have this early in the season.”
He said he was pleased with the possession and passing the Demons showed after the 6½-hour bus ride from Durango.
“Overall, our passing looked a lot better than in our first game,” Parker said.
The finish by Aggeler proved to be the decisive shot of the one-goal game.
“He showed something we’ve been working on with him,” Parker said. “We want him to be able to calm down, to calm his mind down and let his feet do what they naturally do. He dissected the play without panicking.”
Parker said Basalt offered spirited opposition and a very active goalkeeper.
“Their keeper played very well,” Parker said. “It was great to see how hard they (Longhorns) played. It was great to see their level of intensity ... their heart and skill.”
The game, in spite of the late start, drew an appreciative crowd, including a number of Durango fans who made the long trip.
“It’s frustrating to lose,” Hayes said. “But to lose 1-0 to a 4A team that is that good ... this will help us.”