Manitou Springs rallies to defeat Basalt in girls' soccer state playoffs

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After spending most the season on the relaxed side of blowout victories, Manitou Springs faced a rare halftime deficit in the second round of the Class 3A girls' soccer postseason Saturday.

Nothing a quick breather couldn't fix.

"At first I think we were all freaking out thinking this could be our last game," junior Brooklyn Mack said. "But then once we talked through it we were like, 'we have so much time. We've scored goals in the second half before.' It's no big deal."

Yeah, no biggie.

Mack tied the game on a header in the 47th minute and Maddie Grant bent a corner into the net for the go-ahead goal in 63rd, and host No. 3 Manitou Springs rallied back from a hole to beat No. 19 Basalt 3-1.

The Mustangs (15-1) had trailed at the half in just one other game this season. It ended up being their lone blemish of the year, too - a 2-0 loss to 3A No. 1 Jefferson Academy on March 21.

"I think this was healthy for us," Manitou Springs coach Ben Mack said. "I would've, to be honest, preferred more games like this during the regular season. It's fantastic, it was playoff soccer, and I think that's going to prepare us well for down the line."

Back in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2013, the Mustangs look to improve to 8-0 at home when they host No. 6 The Academy on Wednesday.

A lack of adversity shouldn't be an issue anymore.

Manitou Springs outplayed Basalt (12-5) in its round-two game, but couldn't take advantage early on.

Celebration along the home stands flipped to angst in the fourth minute when Mack's goal was waved off by an offside call. Another chance came achingly close a while later after a shot from Bridget Bodor clanked off the bottom of the crossbar and landed just outside the goal line.

Basalt capitalized on the Mustangs' misfortune, breaking through on Sasha Brucker's goal in the 35th minute.

"It's not like we weren't getting chances," coach Mack said. "We just weren't converting them."

That wasn't a problem in the second.

Olivia McKenna crossed a ball in front of the net and Mack ducked down to head it past keeper Kate Schrock for the equalizer.

Grant's unassisted corner kick then gave the Mustangs the lead with less than 18 minutes remaining. It was the second time this season the sophomore has scored on her own corner.

"I focus on my power and placement," Grant said. "When I see that angle I really try to capitalize on it."

Bodor made it 3-1 after she converted an open-net chance in the 66th minute. She outran Schrock to a loose ball and then sidestepped a defender in the box before finishing.

The Mustangs have outscored their opposition 35-2 in the second half this season.