With three wins in six days, the Pagosa Springs High School soccer team has a newfound confidence and a winning record, just in time to face difficult conference foes.
The Pirates are now 6-4 on the season after a three-game winning streak.
Facing the Bayfield Wolverines Thursday at Golden Peaks Stadium, Bayfield led possession early in the game, putting goalkeeper Zerek Jones on his toes with a shot in the game’s fourth minute.
As the game progressed, the Pirates gained possession of the ball, firing shots at the Wolverine goal and earning penalty kicks, though they were unable to connect with the back of the net because of Bayfield’s experienced goalie, who earned the praise of Pirate Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason during the game.
Not to be outdone by a Wolverine, Jones made a series of saves that belied his first-year goalie status.
Taking a 0-0 score into the second half, Bayfield again led possession early, slowly giving way to the Pirates.
The Pirates continued to put offensive pressure on the Wolverines, making a number of shots from yards outside the goal and others from midfield, all of which were stopped by the Bayfield goalie.
Cheered on by the cross country team, which took a break from practice, the Pirates were able to score off of a penalty kick by Riley Searle that was headed in by midfielder Jacob Ormonde with 16:30 left on the clock.
The Pirates continued to fire shots at the Wolverine goalie into stoppage time, when the goalie let the pressure get to him, shoving Lars Schneider and earning a yellow card during the last minutes of the game, giving the Pirates a 1-0 win.
“I think we came on the field just knowing we would do well,” Kurt-Mason said. “We just played with confidence — that was the big difference.”
In the win, Jones earned the team’s lunch box (player of the game award), with Kurt-Mason saying, “Zerek kept us in the game, but Jacob won the game for us.”
Ormonde led the team in shots on the day with six.
Saturday, the Pirates headed to Farmington for a rematch with the Farmington High School JV on the heated turf and, despite the heat, won again, this time by a score of 3-0.
“It was a really, really smart game,” Kurt-Mason said. “We played a really tight defense.”
Playing man-on-man instead of zone defense and winning a number of 50-50 plays thanks to Ormonde, the Pirates were able to lead possession and shut out FHS.
In the game’s 29th minute, Matt Fisher fed a corner kick to Will Brown, who, using his head, introduced the ball to the back of the goal.
Taking a 1-0 lead into the second half, Fisher fed a cross to Ormonde’s head, who directed the ball to the back of the goal from 10 yards out 22 minutes into the half.
Then, in the game’s 70th minute, the Pirates put the icing on the cake when Quinn Smith fed the ball to Silas Thompson, who battled at the goal line, bouncing the ball off of a defender, then the goalie, then a defender again, finally bouncing it off the defender and into the goal.
“He was tenacious,” Kurt-Mason said.
Though led by Ormonde, “it was the entire team pulling for each other,” Kurt-Mason said.
Looking to continue their winning streak, the Pirates headed to Durango Tuesday to take on the Durango High School JV.
“We haven’t beat those guys in a month of Sundays,” Kurt-Mason said.
Pagosa went into the game playing the same kind of defense as they had against FHS, putting defensive pressure in the midfield to hinder DHS passes and drops and causing the DHS squad to “lose their cool,” Kurt-Mason said.
“I was just so pleased with the guys, the way they played defense,” Kurt-Mason said, adding that the team also looked for every open space and opportunity to attack.
Though unable to score the in the first half, the Pirates took a 0-0 game to the second half, and Durango took their tempers.
Amidst Durango’s arguing, yelling, a coach taking the field, and a red card on a player for using profanity, Kurt-Mason said the Pirates held it to together and “played a real classy game.”
“We just knew if we kept the pressure up, they would break, and they did,” Kurt-Mason said.
About ten minutes into the second half, Pirate Eli Stephens fed a cross to Schneider, who shot the ball behind the goalie and to the back of the net.
About 15 minutes later, Schneider faced a defender one-on-one — and won — by scoring the Pirates’ second and final goal. Dean Hampton assisted on the play.
“I can’t say enough about these guys,” Kurt-Mason said.
On the day, Jones tallied 14 saves, a number of which were stopped DHS crosses.
Next, the Pirates head to Telluride Friday in attempts to continue their winning streak against a team Kurt-Mason said has the same style of play on the field as Durango (minus the tempers).
Saturday, The Pirates face off against Ridgeway High School on Ridgeway’s home pitch.