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Soccer team wins one, loses one, faces three on the road

“They was a splishin’ and a splashin’

Reelin’ with the feelin’

Movin’ and a groovin’

Rockin’ and a rollin’”

— “Splish Splash,” as sung by Little Richard.

Last weekend’s high school soccer games, occurring at the tail end of days of rain, snow and cold temperatures, were wet, muddy affairs against Region 5 foes Telluride and Ridgway.

Unfortunately, the Pirates were not able to conquer both the elements and the opponents, walking away from the weekend with a loss to Telluride and a win over Ridgway.

The Pirates began Friday’s affair in dominant fashion, taking an early 2-0 lead over the Telluride Miners thanks to goals from Eli Velasquez and Matt Fisher in the third and 20th minutes, respectively.

Velasquez’s goal followed a handspring throw in from Dane Murdoch and a battle in front of the goal, while Fisher’s goal followed a period of back-and-forth possession by the two teams.

In the midst of the match, Fisher was given a yellow card for intentionally delaying the game.

Telluride struck with their first goal in the game’s 33rd minute and the Pirates took the 2-1 lead into halftime.

While Pagosa recorded several more close goal attempts in the game, they would not score again.

Telluride, however, would go on to score in the 45th, 49th, 70th and 74th minutes, resulting in a 5-2 victory over the wet, muddy Pirates.

Pirate Gabe Lister and a Telluride offender also garnered yellow cards — the latter two cards on one second-half play.

Quinn Smith did not play in the game due to two yellow cards received in the previous game. Scott Galabota took over the weekend’s coaching duties while Head Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason was out of town.

“In the Telluride game, I think we almost got fooled at the beginning of the game since the entire game we didn’t play our style of soccer,” Galabota said, explaining that the Pirates played their style of play in the beginning of the game, then transitioned to Telluride’s style throughout the contest. “We’ll never beat Telluride at Telluride’s game.”

The following day, with Smith back in the lineup, the Pirates looked to rebound against the Ridgway Demons at the wet and muddy Golden Peaks Stadium.

Ridgway, however, was the first to find the back of the net in the game, taking an early lead in the ninth minute.

It wasn’t until the 28th minute that Pagosa followed suit, with Smith feeding the ball to Diego Gutierez, who finished the goal off the Ridgway keeper.

The game was tied 1-1 at the half.

Shortly into the second half, in the 45th minute, Smith was able to break the tie, battling in the goal box and eventually pushing the ball just over the goal line for a 2-1 lead.

After another battle within the goal box, Sully Smith scored the Pirates third goal of the game in the 59th minute — his first goal of the season.

“The very nice thing was having a night to rest and be away and come back,” Galabota said, noting the great leadership from Smith and Fisher. “Luckily, we came out very calm and we passed the ball.”

In the game, Sully Smith became the 12th Pirate to score on the season.

The Pirates have scored 51 goals on the season, while allowing only nine.

The Pirates, now 8-2 on the season and 4-2 in conference play, rank third in Region 5 play behind Telluride (4-0-2 conference) and Alamosa (4-1-1 conference).

The squad will look to improve on their record and try to move up in the rankings this weekend with games against Bayfield and Salida, and a Tuesday game in Alamosa.

“What I’m hoping to see is that we learned something Friday night and that Saturday was the beginning of staying very confident with the game that we have,” Galabota said.

Despite a 9-0 victory over Bayfield earlier in the season, Galabota said the team will look to stay focused on and confident with its style of play, and called Bayfield a tough rival.

“The beauty of Pagosa soccer is that we’re much more focused on our game and how we play than what the other team is going to do,” Galabota said.

Saturday, the team faces Salida, a team Galabota noted has fared well against the Pirates’ conference opponents.

Galabota said it looks to be a competitive game and a good measure of the Pirates.

Tuesday, the squad heads to Alamosa to face off against the team that leads them in the rankings, but that they previously beat 2-0.

Galabota said the Alamosa Mean Moose are playing at a high level and that the Pirates need to enter the game focused.

The game hosted by the Bayfield Wolverines kicks off at 4 p.m. on Friday, while Saturday’s game in Salida will get underway at 1 p.m.

Tuesday’s play gets underway at 4 p.m. in Alamosa.

randi@pagosasun.com

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