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Soccer season ends with big victory over Ignacio

The Pirates finished up their season last Friday with a big 10-0 win at home against the Ignacio Bobcats, capping an otherwise mixed season with a glimmer of hope for next year.

The Pirates season ends with a 4-11 overall record and 4-9 in 3A Region 5 league matchups.

After a first-half turkey shoot resulted in the Pirates going up 6-0, the second half pretty much became a matter of waiting for a mercy rule and an end to the game. The game was called just 18 minutes into the second half, after the Pirates scored their 10th and final goal.

According to Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason, Friday’s win was the result of a team that had shown an invigorated commitment and style of play during the season’s final games.

“Especially, the last two games of the season,” Kurt-Mason said, noting the second half of the May 1 game against Bayfield, when the Pirates shut down the Wolverines and scored a goal — only the fifth time the top-ranked Wolverines had been scored on this year.

“The girls were saying, ‘I wish we had more games, we’re playing much better soccer,’ an indication of the maturity they were showing,” Kurt-Mason added. “We played a little more intense, with more passion in those final games. If we’d shown that level of maturity earlier, we could have had a better season.”

While intensity and maturity were certainly key in Friday’s win, another factor in the lopsided win was how well the Pagosa players held Ignacio to one side of the field, with freshman keeper Maria Campuzano credited with just one save for the game, illustrating the effectiveness of the Pirate defense against the Bobcats.

On offense, several Pirates were firing on all cylinders.

Anissa Lucero led the team with three goals and tied Brooklyn DuCharme (who led with three assists) with seven shots on goal. DuCharme and Johannah Laverty finished second with a pair of goals each, while Katie Blue, Sydney Aragon and Maddy Davey had a single goal each.

With just three seniors on this season’s roster (DuCharme, Aragon and Lauren Greer), the Pirates can look forward to fielding a seasoned and talented squad next year, with five juniors stepping up to take over leadership positions. Blue, Angie Gallegos, Rylee Houston, Katie Laverty and Haleigh Zenz had substantial playing time this season and will bring that experience — and their leadership qualities — to field a formidable front and backfield against opponents next year.

Right behind them next year will be a number of other players who showed themselves to be key factors on the field this season. Lucero, Rosie Graveson and Maddy Davey made the difference in several games this spring, while Nissa Touchon and Peyton Shahan took some game time, showing promise as players for next year’s roster.

Finally, this year’s freshman players glimmered with talent, suggesting tremendous depth on the Pirate bench and promising a strong lineup for the team over the next few years. Angette Pastuzack, Haliegh Brown and Johannah Laverty all earned ample varsity time on the field, while Teeka Murphey and Fiona Romain brought an enthusiasm to the game.

Regarding the seniors he’s losing this year, Kurt-Mason expressed admiration and appreciation. Coming off a mid-season injury that slowed down her usual level of play, Greer nonetheless put her heart into every game, playing well past her comfort zone.

“She was a real inspiration to the team,” Kurt-Mason said.

Aragon, Kurt-Mason said, returned to the team after struggling last year to put a solid style together. “She was a real team leader,” Kurt-Mason said.

Regarding DuCharme’s first year with the team, Kurt-Mason said, “It was a real pleasure to have her on the team this year; she was really coachable, asking questions with almost every step. I could put her in any position and she’d adapt. I can only imagine what we would have looked like if we’d had her the previous three seasons. “

Kurt-Mason expressed a high level of confidence for players bound for next year’s roster. Davey, Kurt-Mason said, “Is probably the strongest player on our team and has the best serve on the corner kick that I’ve seen in years.”

Kurt-Mason said that Lucero continues to grow and mature as a player, pointing out her performance during the year by saying, “She was involved in almost all our goals this season.”

Gallegos will also be a big factor next year, the coach said. “She’s really improved her technique after taking my challenge earlier to change things up. She stepped it up big time.”

Kurt-Mason also pointed to the potential of two freshman from this year. Pastuzack, the coach said, is, “A real bright spot on the horizon, a positive influence on defense,” while adding that Campuzano is, “Learning the keeper position. When she focuses, she’s a real aggressive player in the box.”

With high hopes for next year, Kurt-Mason expressed some concerns with the dearth of girls suiting up in a Pirate uniform. “We need more numbers next year, we’re at bare bones as it is.

“The big issue that we need to have at Pagosa Springs High School is we need commitment. It came at the end of the season, but we really need our players to have that at the start of the season,” Kurt-Mason said.

Looking back at the intensity, passion and commitment his players showed as the team entered the stretch in late May — and again referring back to the team’s performance against Bayfield — Kurt-Mason said, “Next year, I’m hoping those girls who played so well in Bayfield look back and decide to pick up from where our season ended this year.”

jim@pagosasun.com

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