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PSHS soccer season opens at home Saturday

Fresh off a six-and-a-half hour day of scrimmages near Denver last weekend, the Pagosa Springs High School boys’ soccer team is slated to take to the field Saturday for the season opener.

The 2010 team features many of the same players as the 2009 campaign, with only three seniors and two freshman on the 23-man squad.

The back four anticipated to take to the pitch Saturday are all returning players — Laith Scherer, Jacob Ormonde, Eli Stephens and Lars Schnieder.

Likely starting at midfield to begin the season are Derek Erskine, Dean Hampton, Quinn Smith, Will Brown (after he returns from an injury) and Sully Smith.

Matt Fisher and the currently injured Riley Searle, when healed, are slated to lead the Pirate offense.

Zerek Jones and Silas Thompson will share the duties of goalkeeping.

“It’s going to be a very competitive season,” said head coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason, adding that many on the team continue to compete for starting positions.

Prior to competition in their neck of the woods, the Pirates traveled to Denver for a day of scrimmages against Denver-area teams on Aug. 28, followed by watching the Colorado Rapids take on the Houston Dynamo on the pitch the team had just played on.

“We knew we were going to compete against high-level teams,” said Kurt-Mason, adding that the team “rose to the occasion.”

The Pirates scrimmaged four teams on the day — ThunderRidge, Steamboat Springs, Holy Family and Canon City — and, while no score is kept during a scrimmage, Kurt-Mason said the Pirates evenly matched all the teams.

Kurt-Mason highlighted the defensive work of the team in all the games, but noted that after Searle was struck with a sprain, the offensive attack suffered.

Despite Searle’s absence, Kurt-Mason said one of the team’s best games was its final of the day against 5A ThunderRidge.

“The kids rallied and the team support for each other was there,” Kurt-Mason said, adding, “One thing we wanted to do was be supportive, be sportsmanlike — all the things we can control on and off the field.”

The scrimmages not only gave the team outside competition before the start of the regular season, but was a last indicator of what the team needed to work on before taking on the Palisade High School Bulldogs Saturday — offensive attack and finishing.

“We’ve been working real hard and I think we’ll be ready by the weekend to play Palisade,” Kurt-Mason said.

The Pirates and the Bulldogs are scheduled to take to the pitch at Golden Peaks Stadium at 11 a.m. Saturday.

randi@pagosasun.com