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Soccer team travels to Denver for Saturday tilts

The Pagosa Springs High School soccer team is in its second week of official practice, with the schedule (preseason, at least) set to kick off in Denver this weekend in grueling fashion — with four scrimmages in one day.

The day of four shortened scrimmages will signal the end of an already rugged preseason for the team that included the traditional team run up Wolf Creek Pass.

As of Tuesday, this year’s roster lists six seniors, 10 juniors, one sophomore and seven freshmen.

The team lost three graduating seniors from its conference-champion 2010 roster. In 2010, 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 Intermountain League champion.

Coming off a strong year and losing only three players, Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason is optimistic about the team’s abilities in 2011.

“They want to improve their fitness level, as well as their team chemistry,” Kurt-Mason said, adding the squad was “coachable. As a team, that’s a real boon to success, I think.”

To start the season, Kurt-Mason said to look for juniors Diego Gutierrez and Quinn Smith to be starting strikers, leading a strong midfield. The coach also added that senior goalkeeper Silas Thompson was playing well at his post.

In 2010, Smith tallied 13 goals, including a number of hat tricks, and nine assists, ranking him first in offense within the region.

While stating that his team has chemistry, work ethic, desire and integrity, Kurt-Mason said there is one area he would like to see his players improve — their patience in the midfield, in order to allow for a more complete transition between defense and offense.

He said he hopes the team will hold the ball in the midfield long enough to allow the offense to take shape before moving the ball forward.

That patience will be tested as regular season play gets underway on Sept. 3 in Palisade.

Though beginning the schedule away, the Pirates will host nine home games throughout the season (including against conference foes Telluride and Ridgeway), while playing away only six times, giving local soccer fans ample time to watch their home team.

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