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Soccer team to travel for scrimmage tournament

If the first week of practice is any indication, the Pagosa Springs High School boys’ soccer team should start the season on solid footing.

That theory, though, will be tested in a scrimmage tournament in Denver this weekend, and as the team embarks on its regular season on Aug. 30.

“They’re looking pretty good,” said Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason following the first week of practice.

Kurt-Mason said the team is starting the season fit and well-organized, with fluid play and a strong offense.

Many members of the team took part in preseason camp, Kurt-Mason said, and were playing soccer six hours a day. The first week of practice was quick and offered little rest during the practices, and the squad kept up the pace.

The team will be led by 10 seniors this season — Isaiah Gallegos, Isaiah Thompson, Eli Stephens, Dean Hampton, Garek Erskine, Quinn Smith, Sully Smith, Garret Lyle, Diego Gutierrez and Nathan Steed.

Four juniors round out the upperclassmen-heavy team — Lorenzo Quezada, Ben Bard, Colton Polczynski and Coleman Smith.

Only two sophomores are on the squad this year — Spence Scott and Connor Burksmith — but the team’s future may be helped by eight freshmen — Gavin Ross, Briar Erskine, James Berndt, Blake Irons, Connor Bjork, Sam Chronowski, Mathew Bremman and Giangelo Garbiso.

“The freshman class is really phenomenal,” Kurt-Mason said.

Look for the team’s offense to be led by strikers Gutierrez and Polczynski, who Kurt-Mason said are working well together and scored a lot of goals in a recent, friendly match with the Bloomfield High School squad.

Working back on the field, Kurt-Mason said the midfield is working together well with a tight defense.

In goal could be a medley of players — Quinn Smith is a “great goalkeeper” that the team has relied on in the past, while Steed is working on the position, as well as freshmen Erskine, Bremman and Garbiso.

Tomorrow, Friday, the team heads for Denver for a day of scrimmages on Saturday against a number of Front Range teams on the practice turf of the Colorado Rapids Major League Soccer team (Dick’s Sporting Goods Park).

“It’s a great way to start the season,” Kurt-Mason said of the 30-team scrimmage day.

The team will play four scrimmages on the day — 10 a.m. against Weld Central High School; 1 p.m. against Colorado Rocky Mountain High School; 3 p.m. against Manitou Springs High School; and 5 p.m. against Vail Mountain High School.

“It’s a great level of play and it gets us going really well and we’ll hit the ground running, then,” Kurt-Mason said.

Following the scrimmage tournament, the Pirates will start their regular-season schedule on Aug. 30 with a home match against the Salida Spartans.

Kurt-Mason called Salida a good, well-coached team with several young players that should prove to be a tough opponent for the Pirates.

Action on Aug. 30 will kick off at 4 p.m. at Golden Peaks Stadium.

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