Coming off of two big games over the weekend, the Pirates were unable to bring their new-found level of play to bear against the visiting 4A Cortez Panthers Tuesday afternoon, taking a 2-0 loss and dropping to a 2-5-1 record for the season.
For the first 10 minutes of the game, the Pirates were controlling the ball, exhibiting the kind of passing game that sustained them through previous wins. Holding the game at mid-field, the Pirates looked to stop the Panthers dead in their tracks.
“At that point, it looked like a game we could win,” said Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason.
Pagosa’s focus was rattled in the next 10 minutes, however, as a Cortez breakaway through the left side of the Pagosa defense was good for a goal. Three minutes later and a second Panther goal shook the Pirate’s confidence for the remainder of the half. With Cortez controlling the game for the remainder of the half, the Panthers prevented Pagosa from making good on any drives to the goal.
“Their heads were way out of it,” said Kurt-Mason. “It wasn’t until the second half that they started playing their game again.”
Indeed, the Pirates took back control in the second half, holding off Panther attacks and regaining the passing game that had unfortunately eluded them in the first half. But with just nine shots on the goal for the game, the Pirates were unable to overcome mistakes in the first half, losing 0-2 to Cortez.
“We need to play like we did in the second half,” said Kurt-Mason. “We were communicating better. They just weren’t there for the first half and it all starts in their head, a lesson in team psychology.”
Looking ahead to today’s game in Durango, Kurt-Mason said he believes the teams are evenly matched. However, with Pirate standout Michelle Church likely out for the season, Kurt-Mason admitted, “we have to scramble a bit to get a win.”
The Pirates host the Durango JV on Monday at 4 p.m. at Golden Peaks Stadium then return to host the Ignacio Bobcats at 4 p.m. Tuesday.