Pirates go 2-1 on week, host Wolverines to end regular season

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With one game left in the regular season, the Pagosa Springs High School Pirate soccer team is holding on to the third-place slot in the Intermountain League (IML), making playoffs likely for the team.

Seeding for the Colorado 3A soccer playoffs will be released Sunday. With seven teams in the IML, it is anticipated that the top three teams will advance.

The Pirates split a pair of games over the weekend and won their game Tuesday, leaving the team with a 7-4 league record heading into today’s final regular-season game against the Bayfield Wolverines.

The Pirates started their weekend with a 1-0 loss in Telluride Friday afternoon to the league-leading Miners.

The sole goal of the game came from Miner Matt Palamar roughly halfway through the first half, with neither team able to find the back of the net again.

“After a very close contest in (Telluride) we adjusted a few things in the way we approach our defensive play,” coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason wrote to SUN staff.

That adjusted approach was on display the following morning during the Pirates’ matchup with the Ridgway Demons in Ridgway, which the Pirates won by a score of 3-1.

“The guys responded really well in Ridgway. They felt more organized and played a cleaner defensive game,” Kurt-Mason wrote.

The Pirates were able to score twice in the first half of the game, the first from James Berndt on a shot that came from outside the 18-yard box and the second from Connor Burkesmith on a play that included assists from both Jason Monterroso and Ben Bard.

The second half, however, proved to be slightly more even, with each team chalking up a goal. The Demons scored on a direct kick and Pagosa’s Berndt notched his second goal of the day.

Blake Irons was the team’s Player of the Game, with the coach writing, “Blake played a flawless game. He won the air battles and marked incredibly well throughout the entire game He slowed numerous attacks and transitioned well to our possession game. Blake helped the team reorganize into a new system, which brought us to a new level of play today. Blake raised the level of his play, others play and by doing this game itself.”

Too, the coach noted Irons was a “man on a mission” throughout the game.

With an even record over the weekend, the Pirates welcomed the Montezuma-Cortez High School Panthers to Golden Peaks Stadium Tuesday afternoon.

The Pirates were victorious in the affair, logging a 3-0 final score.

Two of Pagosa’s goals came in the first half of the game — the first from Bard off an assist from Josue Castaneda and the second on an assist from Castaneda that Monterroso sent into the back of the net with one touch.

The Pirates added one more in the second half from Berndt, assisted by Burkesmith.

“B. Bard had a great game and broke the ice with our 1st goal in the 9th minute,” Kurt-Mason wrote.

The coach also highlighted Castaneda’s two assists, including an “amazing” heel touch in front of the Cortez goalie to feed the ball to Monterroso, and Berndt’s scoring.

Berndt now has 13 goals and three assists on the season that, in soccer scoring (two points per goal and one point per assist), give him 29 points — which Kurt-Mason noted leads the region.

The team also played a nonleague affair in Durango Wednesday afternoon. The results of that matchup were not available by press time Wednesday.

Today at 4 p.m., the Pirates will welcome the Wolverines to Golden Peaks Stadium for the team’s final home game of the regular season.

The Wolverines currently hold a 1-10 league record.

The Pirates’ 7-4 league record lands them in third in the IML, behind Telluride and Crested Butte (both hold a 10-1 league record).