Despite a misstep during their otherwise strong showing at their season opener last Thursday in Farmington, the Pagosa Springs Pirates soccer team is showing tremendous promise for a winning season.
“We actually outplayed them, we possessed the ball for 90-percent of the game,” said Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason. “We beat ourselves.”
In fact, the first score against the Pirates came in the first minute of the game when a Pirate player inadvertently put the ball into his own goal. However, the Pirates answered that mistake at 36 minutes, 22 seconds into the first half when sophomore standout Riley Searle scored on an assist from senior Britton Bennett.
The Scorpions stung back with 20:01 left in the period and, despite strong offense by the Pirates, Farmington was able to exit the half with an unearned 1-2 advantage.
Searle brought the Pirates back with a clean shot at the 36:56 mark in the second period. At 22:18 the Scorpions regained the lead, but a shot by senior Jordan Davey tied the score with 14:06 left in the game. Unfortunately, a Scorpion goal with just 2:13 left in the game sent the Pirates home with a 4-3 loss.
In the game against Farmington, senior goalie Allen McIver was credited with four saves while Searle had eight shots on goal, scoring on two of those.
The Pirates reconciled themselves the next day in their home opener against the 4A Palisade Bulldogs. After a brief delay due to lightning, the Pirates took the field with energy and enthusiasm, displaying no letdown from the previous day’s loss.
Holding the Bulldogs to their own side of the field, a strong Pagosa offense and defense paid off when sophomore Matt Fisher scored with 27:30 left in the period. With the Pirates picking up the ball well, playing a very physical defense, Pagosa finished the period with a 1-0 lead.
“The was no doubt who was dominating the middle of the field,” said Kurt-Mason.
With the Pirates continuing to display unassailable defense and formidable offense, Pagosa scored again with a header into the Bulldog’s goal by freshman phenom Quinn Smith with 24:35 left in the game. Several strong saves by McIver (five credited for the game) left the Bulldogs shutout, giving the Pirates a 2-0 win for their home opener.
“Both our scores came from underclassmen,” said Kurt-Mason. “We have a strong bench this year and that’s showing in our level of intensity.”
That intensity returned Tuesday as the Pirates hosted the 4A Montezuma-Cortez Panthers.
“They just really wanted to play,” said Kurt-Mason. “They play at a level of intensity that is just incredible.”
Although facing a stronger team than Palisade, the Pirates managed to keep both the offense and defense tight, holding the Panthers to just a single goal in the first period. Senior Dustin Anderson scored for the Pirates in the period, taking Pagosa into the half with a 1-1 tie.
“In the second half, we were coming to our passes,” said Kurt-Mason. In fact, that strong, cohesive offense appeared to make all the difference in the second period. A score by Smith off an assist by Searle, put the Pirates out in front while a goal by freshman Dean Hampton, off an assist by junior Jacob Ormonde clinched the game for the Pirates with a 3-1 win.
“It’s been years since we beat Cortez,” said Kurt-Mason. “It’s a good indication of what kind of a team we have this year.”
McIver, credited with 10 saves, was voted player of the game by his teammates in the Pirates’ win over the Panthers.
The Pirates return to the road with a 4 p.m. game Friday in Ridgway. The Pirates then travel to Telluride for an 11 a.m. game against the Miners.