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Pirate soccer wins two, holds second place in league race

Saturday’s home game against the Alamosa Mean Moose was an apt metaphor for the Pirates’ season — some missteps resulting in a slow start, redeemed later as the team finds both its rhythm and determination.

In fact, the Pirates have not lost a game since March 29 and have been looking stronger with each passing week. After blanking the Demons 3-0 in Ridgway last Friday, the Pirates returned home on Saturday to take down the Alamosa Mean Moose 5-1 during a second half turkey shoot to improve to 6-3 overall this season.

Friday’s win against the Demons in Ridgway was an example of how much improvement the Pirates have shown in the latter part of the season (the Pirates lost a home game 1-0 on March 19 against the Demons). Showing an indomitable defense (keeper Alyssa Laydon logged only five saves the entire game), the Pirates had more than enough pepper on offense to control the tempo of the game.

An early goal by Lauren Greer (with an assist by Sydney Smith) was followed by a goal by Madelyn Davey with the assist coming from Katie Blue, and sent the Pirates into the half with a 2-0 lead. Smith assisted again in the second half and, with help from Megan Davey, sent Erika Pitcher to the net for Pagosa’s final point and a 3-0 victory over the Demons.

Nicoll Hunt, Pitcher and Smith all led the team with three shots on goal each, with Smith also finishing with a team-leading two assists.

Catching scant rest for the next day’s home match against the Alamosa Mean Moose, the Pirate offense took some time to gel while playing a tough defense. Unable to follow through on several shots (a goal in the last five minutes by Anissa Lucero was called back on a penalty) the half ended 0-0.

The Pirates exploded on offense in the second half, however, scoring four straight before the Mean Moose managed to deliver. Just three minutes into the half, Hunt placed a clean shot past the Alamosa goalie, sending the Pirates ahead 1-0. Grabbing the tempo in the second half, Pagosa capitalized on their constant harassment of the Mean Moose defense. With 24:00 left, Kassidy Smith gunned a shot from mid-field into the net, putting Pagosa up 2-0; less than a minute later, Hunt scored again for a 3-0 lead.

Less than three minutes later, Sydney Smith slipped one past Alamosa’s keep to put the Pirates up 4-0. With Pagosa’s younger players taking the field with 20 minutes left in the game, the Mean Moose were able to capitalize on a single shot at 13:52, but the Pirates held tough on defense and, with a final goal from Blue with less than a minute left, the Pirates cinched up a 5-1 victory.

The Pirates hold second place in the Region 5 conference behind the 9-1 Telluride Miners (who handed the Pirates a 3-2 loss in Pagosa for the March 18 season opener). The Pirates will have a chance to get revenge on May 6 in Telluride for the season’s last game.

Until then, the Pirates play four games. Tomorrow afternoon, the Pirates travel to Bayfield to challenge the 7-4 Wolverines (third place in conference), a team Pagosa beat 2-1 on April 12. The Pirates return home the next day to host the 2A Ignacio Bobcats — Pagosa ended a previous match early less than two weeks ago when a 10-0 victory by the Pirates stopped the game on the mercy rule. On Monday afternoon, the Pirates play their final home game, entertaining the Vikings from Center, giving that team a shot at revenge for the 8-0 loss the Pirates handed them two weeks ago in Center. Pagosa then returns to the road, visiting the 6-5 Montezuma-Cortez Panthers for their first challenge this season since the teams met in a preseason scrimmage.

Saturday’s match starts at 11 a.m. Monday’s match begins at 4 p.m. at Golden Peaks Stadium. Both events are free to the public.

jim@pagosasun.com

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