The weekend held a mixed bag of results for the Pagosa Springs High School soccer team — a mercy-rule win, fouls that resulted in a yellow and a red card and accompanying suspension, and a loss to a tough league opponent.
The Pirates started the weekend against the Lake City Community School 14ers, a first-year program with only 10 coed players in tow on the day. Lake City Community School counts 18 kids overall in grades 9-12.
Pagosa Springs quickly took possession in the 10-on-10 match, with Lars Schneider scoring in the game’s third minute, with an assist by Gabe Lister.
Less than two minutes later, the roles were switched as Lister scored, helped by Schneider.
In the coming minutes, the Pirates continued a high rate of shooting, scoring again in the game’s ninth minute, again by Schneider.
Two minutes later, Pirate Jacob Ormonde partook in the scoring, pushing the Pirates to a 4-0 lead in the game’s first 10 minutes.
Barely longer than two minutes later, Riley Searle, fresh off a preseason injury, was able to power through the 14ers’ goalkeeper after several attempts by the team.
While the Pirate starters were given a break through the middle portion of the half, Pagosa continued to fire shots at the Lake City goalie, battling at the goal line more than once.
When given the opportunity for a direct kick in the middle of the half, however, Pagosa’s sportsmanship side took precedence, with the ball voluntarily kicked out.
Despite the number of shots, Pagosa failed to score again until the game’s 28th minute, when Dean Hampton headed in a ball fed to him by teammate Eli Stephens.
Just over two minutes later, Quinn Smith scored a breakaway goal, giving the Pirates their total of seven goals on the half, though not for lack of more battles at the goal line.
The second half started much the same as the first half, with scoring attempts made within the first minute.
Ninety seconds into the half, Searle dribbled the ball into the goal and was followed just over a minute later by a goal by Laith Scherer.
Schneider, who scored the game’s first goal, score the game’s final goal with a little over 32 minutes remaining on the clock, bringing an end to the official action due to the 10-run mercy rule.
“They held their heads up,” said Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason in praise of the Lake City squad, adding that the 14ers wanted to keep playing after the game officially ended.
The Pirates also used the contest to refine their game.
“Our guys played well. We limited our toucheds on the ball and passed more; tried to spread the game out more,” Kurt-Mason said, further explaining that he challenged the team to pass the ball 10 times before shooting and limited each player to two touches of the ball at a time.
The following day, the Pirates welcomed a more established foe — the Crested Butte Titans.
“We kept to our game and didn’t play the style that Crested Butte played,” Kurt-Mason said of the physical match.
The Titans took an early lead just seconds into the game’s second minute and, playing a quick game, turned around with another shot less than two minutes later that was saved by Zerek Jones.
The Pirates then rebounded in terms of possession, with Schneider making the Pirates’ first shot in the game’s fifth minute and much of the play occurring in the middle one-third of the pitch.
The Pirates continued to break out of the middle of the field and fire off a number of close shots throughout the half.
In the 20th minute during a defensive episode, Matt Fisher fouled in the box, receiving a red card and allowing Crested Butte to score on the subsequent direct kick.
“There was a penalty, but it wasn’t a red card penalty,” Kurt-Mason said. “That put us back. We were doing well — anytime a call like that happens, it can sway the game one way or another. That just took the momentum away from us. ... They still played well.”
Forced to play the rest of the game without an 11th player due to Fisher’s foul, the Pirates continued to pressure the Titans offensively, though not without recording a handball and allowing the third Titan goal within the last two minutes of the half.
Looking to rebound from their 3-0 deficit in the second half, the Pirates were finally able move the ball past the goalie in the game’s 50th minute.
Following the goal, Crested Butte was able to control possession, peppering Jones with shots and upping his season save statistics before connecting with the back of the net with a little less than 18 minutes remaining in the game.
With just over 12 minutes remaining, Schneider received a yellow card for his dealings with the Titan goal.
Despite the card, the Pirates quickly returned to form with less than 10 minutes remaining, scoring their second goal on a direct kick completed by Searle.
Not content for Pagosa to be within two goals, a Crested Butte forward knocked in his third goal of the day in the game’s final minutes.
Though time was running out, the Titans found time to tally another card on the day, this time a yellow card against them as the whistle signaled the end of the contest.
“I was proud of our guys for playing clean soccer and respecting the rules,” Kurt-Mason said of his team following the match.
While Kurt-Mason noted that the Titans never established a real rhythm to their game, he does admit that they were able to put stress on the Pirates, evidenced by Pagosa’s constant push forward and lack of passing back in order to spread the game out to keep possession.
Next up, the Pirates welcome Bayfield to Golden Peaks Stadium in a game that looks to challenge the Pirates.
“We have our work cut out for us,” Kurt-Mason said, highlighting Bayfield’s “clean, hard game” filled with hustle, well-executed passes, speed, and a good goalkeeper.
Following the match against Bayfield, the Pirates travel to Farmington Saturday and Durango Tuesday for matches against the larger schools.
“We’re still in the running for playoffs; we still can control our destiny,” Kurt-Mason said.