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Pirates soccer players receive post-season honors

All-conference honors awarded to the Pagosa Springs High School soccer team were doled out at the team’s annual banquet Nov. 17, and plaques were plentiful among the Pirates.

In total, eight Pirates were honored for their play this season, as well as Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason for his work with the conference’s top team.

Jacob Ormonde, Quinn Smith, Matt Fisher, Lars Schneider and Riley Searle were selected for the all-conference first team.

On offense, Ormonde recorded five goals and three assists on the season.

“He made a big impact on all the teams we played,” Kurt-Mason said, adding, “He’s an integral player in our system, both offense and defense.”

Smith recorded 13 goals on the season, including a number of hat tricks, as well as nine assists, to rank him first offensively within the region.

“He’s a good example of a striker,” Kurt-Mason said. “He’s got a great body for it and a nose for the goal. He’s selfish when he needs to be selfish.”

“His love for the game is contagious,” Kurt-Mason added.

Fisher, voted “Mr. Tenacity” by the team, tallied three goals and five assists from his defensive post, in addition to his role as the “backbone of our defense” after moving to play sweeper following an early season injury to Ormonde.

“Most of the time, most other players had to answer to Matt when they broke through the midfield,” Kurt-Mason said, complimenting Fisher’s speed, aggression, and communication with his teammates.

Schneider, who suffered a third-degree shoulder separation at the end of the season that required surgery, notched 10 goals on the season for the Pirates, accompanied by five assists.

The goal mark was second only to Smith in the conference.

Despite the injury, Schneider finished the season, damaging his shoulder more.

“He was an inspiration. He just wanted to finish the season and help the team.”

Searle, who missed the first part of the season due to an injury sustained in preseason play, ended the season with eight goals — third highest on the team — and seven assists.

Kurt-Mason classified Searle as the type of player who “works really hard when the coach isn’t looking,” attributing Searle’s return to the team to his hard work and positive attitude.

Searle was also voted Sportsman of the Year by his teammates.

Receiving honorable mentions were Eli Stephens and Dean Hampton.

Stephens started the year as a forward, moving to the midfield, but still tallied three goals and four assists on the season.

“He had a great sense of defensive play, too, so he was an all-around good athlete, an all-around good soccer player,” Kurt-Mason said, calling Stephens “a great talent.”

Hampton, another Pirate midfielder, recorded three goals along with 10 assists on the season, despite playing what Kurt-Mason described as “more of a defensive midfield.”

“Dean could really hold his own,” Kurt-Mason said, adding, “He’s only going to improve.”

The Pirates also took home three special awards within the conference.

In addition to his first-team honors, Ormonde was selected as player of the year.

“He was voted most valuable player in the region,” Kurt-Mason said, “and you can’t really deny that.”

In the goalkeeper of the year category, Zerek Jones tied with Alamosa’s goalie for the top honor.

Jones ended the season with an average of 1.39 goals per game against, which ranked seventh among all 3A goalkeepers. He was also fifth in save percentage within 3A with a .84 mark.

“The last game was the peak of his season,” Kurt-Mason said of Jones. “He had 19 saves, he kept us in that game.”

Kurt-Mason described Jones as a “student of the keeper game” who came out of his shell.

Coach of the year was awarded to Kurt-Mason.

After beginning the season 3-4, the Pirates lost only once more while claiming seven victories to end the season with a 10-5 record as the IML champions.

“They’ll only get better,” Kurt-Mason said of his squad, adding, “It’s kind of exciting to see it all coming together like it did.”