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Pirate soccer players receive postseason honors

Faith Christian High School is the 2011 state champion, meaning the fall soccer has come to an end and postseason honors have been doled out.

The Pagosa Springs High School Pirates brought home six honors within Region 5, including Player of the Year and Sportsman of the Year.

Player of the Year honors were given to senior Riley Searle, who recorded 16 goals on the season, including a perfect hat trick — goals from left field, right field and a header, all in one game.

On notes turned in nominating Searle for All-Conference honors, Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason notes that Searle, “dances with the soccer ball,” and, “has a laser shot.”

Kurt-Mason also calls Searle, who plans to play soccer at Colorado School of Mines, a “big impact player.”

Searle was also named to the All-Conference team for the third year in a row, and to the All-State second team.

Sportsman of the Year honors went to senior Gabe Lister, who recorded six goals on the season. Kurt-Mason, among other compliments paid to Lister, describes him as coachable and an attacking defender who took his training seriously, playing any position required of him.

Additionally, Pirate junior Quinn Smith and senior Matt Fisher were named to the All-Conference team, while junior Diego Gutierrez received an honorable mention.

For his accolades, Kurt-Mason notes Smith, who notched 12 goals on the season, is a “very powerful forward,” with strong field awareness and technical ability.

Smith also received All-Conference honors in 2010.

Fisher, a senior, is described by Kurt-Mason as a, “very explosive midfielder,” who uses both feet well and has great movement with and without the ball.

Fisher tallied 11 goals on the season, as well as six assists.

Fisher also received All-Conference honors in 2010.

Gutierrez, who finished the season with six goals, is described by Kurt-Mason as having, “deceptive speed,” and the ability to shoot from anywhere, with great footwork.

Gutierrez was unable to play in 2010 due to a back injury.

Though only five Pirate players received regional honors, Kurt-Mason said others on the team are deserving of recognition.

Senior goalkeeper Silas Thompson was recognized as the team’s MVP for the 2011 season, placing second in Keeper of the Year voting for the region.

Thompson, with a Goals Against Average of .642, led the region, allowing only nine goals on the season and logging nine shutouts, Kurt-Mason reported, adding that Thompson led much of the state.

“Silas has developed into one of the most focused keepers I have coached,” Kurt-Mason writes, adding that Thompson spent extra time nightly working on various aspects of goalkeeping.

Kurt-Mason also recognized the work of Eli Stephens and Dean Hampton, who he nominated for postseason awards, as well.

With a total-game record of 12-3 on the season, the Pirates finished in fourth place in the region, behind Alamosa, Telluride and Crested Butte.

Alamosa advanced the farthest in playoffs, losing to Colorado Springs Christian School in the Sweet 16.

Even though the Pirates missed making the playoffs by a hair (the team tied Crested Butte, but the season tie breaker went to Crested Butte, who defeated Pagosa 2-1 in September), Kurt-Mason is pleased with the team and the season.

“We had a great year,” Kurt-Mason said, adding that the team led all 3A schools in the state in terms of points (points awarded for goals and assists) and, at one time, ranked as high as 120th in the nation.

“That’s a feather in our cap, the character of our team,” Kurt-Mason said, calling his squad “tight-knit” and adding, “Everybody was scoring from everywhere.”

Kurt-Mason cited the team’s chemistry and skill as factors that helped the team perform well on the season.

“That was the character of our team,” Kurt-Mason said, “We assisted each other.”

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