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Pirate soccer team faces crucial match Friday

Two ties this past week have created an end-of-season scenario that, Pirate’s coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason said, “Makes for an interesting finish.”

The Pirates took two wins (one awarded on a forfeit) this past week, a loss and a tie against the Bayfield Wolverines last Friday that not only supported Kurt-Mason’s observation but showed the Pirates are fielding their best girls’ soccer team in years.

Following Friday’s 2-2 tie against the Wolverines in Bayfield, the Pirates took a bye on Saturday after the Ignacio Bobcats handed Pagosa a win on a forfeit. Returning to Pagosa on Monday afternoon for their final season home game, the Pirates easily handled the Center Vikings 10-0 and then, returning to the road the next day, the Pirates were blanked 2-0 by the Montezuma-Cortez Panthers.

Challenged as much by strong winds on Friday as they were by a team that was evenly matched (both teams with 6-2 league records going into the game), the Pirates were unable to finish shots during two overtime opportunities.

The Pirates got off to an early lead when Megan Davey chipped a shot past the Wolverine’s keeper in the first three minutes of the game. However, Bayfield ratcheted up their offense after that early goal, keeping Pagosa defenders busy, and finally scored at 36:00, going into the half with a 1-1 tie.

The Wolverines took the lead just 10 minutes into the second when a corner kick, pushed high by the wind, hit the back of the net to give Bayfield a 2-1 advantage. Not to be outdone, the Pirates scored the equalizer just eight minutes later off their own corner kick. A corner kick by Nicoll Hunt that bounced off the post was picked up by Katie Blue, who scored on the rebound.

To the end, and through two five-minute overtime periods, both teams fought a tough defensive battle, taking a few shots that ended up in the hands of capable keepers, carrying the game to a 2-2 draw.

Hunt and Madelyn Davey led the team with five shots on goal each while keeper Alyssa Laydon was credited with 10 saves.

Regarding his team’s improved performance (despite playing to a draw), Kurt-Mason said, “The speed of play has really been notched up a rung.”

Scheduled for a match against the Ignacio Bobcats on Saturday morning, the Pirates were awarded the forfeit.

On Monday, the Pirates completely dominated the Center Vikings, controlling the tempo of the game and pretty much preventing their opponents from entering Pagosa’s side of the field. At 25:00 Hunt scored the first goal for the Pirates (and the first of four she scored in the game. Blue followed up four minutes later with the Pirates second point. Hunt then hit a hat trick with goals at the 11:00, 10:00 and 2:00 marks. With less than two minutes left, Anissa Lucero gave the Pirates their final point for the half, sending Pagosa into the second with a 7-0 lead.

After Kassidy Smith scored the Pirates’ first point for the second half at 37:00, Kurt-Mason began pulling players from the field. By the time Lucero scored the Pirate’s ninth point at 31:26, the Vikings held an 11- to 8-man advantage on the field. The advantage was of no help: when Erika Pitcher scored the game clincher at 14:00, the match was called on the mercy rule.

Unfortunately, the Pirates were unable to repeat that level of play in Cortez the next day. With the Panthers hitting Pagosa with an indomitable defense, and carried by the offensive prowess of MCHS standout Allison Porter (who scored a goal in each half), the Pirates had few opportunities to score and lost 2-0.

Hunt led the Pirates with seven shots on goal while Laydon logged 15 saves.

MCHS beat Bayfield 3-1 on March 12 and handed Telluride the team’s only loss of the season, defeating the Miners 3-2 on March 11 in Cortez.

As Kurt-Mason said, an interesting finish could be in store as the season comes to a close. On Saturday, Bayfield played the Miners to a 2-2 draw in Telluride, the second tie in as many days for the Wolverines and the second tie that set up an “interesting finish.”

With Pagosa facing the Miners in Telluride tomorrow, the game could establish post-season seeding, but will certainly determine league placement. Although the Pirates will see post-season play in the state 3A playoffs, a sound victory tomorrow by the Pirates could endow home-field advantage for the first round.

If the season ends with a three-way tie for the league’s top spot, placement would be awarded by calculating points for individual wins during the season.

The fate of the Pirates’ post-season prospects really do rest on tomorrow’s match in Telluride.

jim@pagosasun.com

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