Soccer players receive post-season honors


    Staff Writer

    SUN photo/Randi Pierce
    Eight Pirate soccer players were awarded league recognition for their play over the season, including, from left, Dean Hampton, Diego Gutierrez, Eli Stephens, Isaiah Gallegos, Isaiah Thompson, Sully Smith and Garek Erskine. In front is Quinn Smith.

    The season is over and members of the team have moved on to other sports and endeavors, but the Pagosa Springs High School boys’ soccer team held one last celebration Tuesday night to honor the team’s members, including the eight athletes who garnered all-conference awards.

    The Pirates finished the year with a 10-5 record, going 9-3 in league play, and bowed out in top 32 action with a 1-0 loss to Basalt.

    The team’s play was consistent throughout the year, with home and away records matching at 5-2 each. The team notched a loss on the only neutral-field play of the year.

    Senior Diego Gutierrez was the team’s leader in scoring and assists, with 13 goals and 14 assists, with junior Colton Polzynski second with six goals. Senior Garret Lyle tallied five goals on the season, freshman James Berndt notched four, and freshman Matthew Breman scored three.

    Senior Garek Erskine and freshman Sam Chronowski added two goals each to the team’s total, while eight other Pirates added a goal each, totaling 43 goals for the season.

    To go along with the winning record and plethora of goals, eight members of the team were awarded league honors, including first-team all-conference spots for Eli Stephens, Gutierrez, Isaiah Gallegos and Dean Hampton. Honorable mentions were handed to Sully Smith and Erskine. Special awards went to Quinn Smith for Keeper of the Year, and Isaiah Thompson took home the league’s sportsmanship award.

    All recipients are seniors.

    Stephens, called by team coaches Lindsey Kurt-Mason and Scott Galabota a natural leader, walked away from the year with one goal and four assists. He was also voted Most Inspirational by the team.

    Gutierrez led the league in assists and was second in goals, falling two votes short of garnering the league’s MVP title, according to Kurt-Mason. He was voted the team’s MVP.

    “Diego was the artist on the field,” Galabota said, also highlighting Gutierrez’s maturity in passing a scoring chance to a freshman to allow him to score his first goal, and playing throughout the field, wherever he was needed.

    Gallegos was described by Galabota as having, “textbook defense.”

    Hampton, with one goal and four assists on the season, was called a leader who continually sought to improve.

    “Everything he did, he was solid,” Galabota said.

    Sully Smith, called a, “really skilled player,” scored one goal and tallied five assists on the season. The coaches spoke of Smith’s dedication on the field, which helped him to continually improve.

    Erskine was second in the league with five assists, second only to Gutierrez, and scored two goals on the season.

    Quinn Smith was voted the Intermountain League Keeper of the Year, with seven shutouts in his first year as keeper (he was a starting striker in years past). He allowed 11 goals on the season, while making 159 saves, according to team stats.

    Thompson was called a catalyst for the team that, as a senior, played JV several times in order to field a full team, including playing goalie in a JV match.

    “He just was the good example,” Kurt-Mason said.