Playoff potential is high for the Pagosa Springs High School soccer team going into their final regular season game this afternoon following wins Thursday and Tuesday.
Traveling to Bayfield Thursday night, the Pirates continued their trend of scoring early when Riley Searle was pushed down in the box, garnering a penalty kick that resulted in a scoreboard change.
Possession remained even between the teams for much of the game, though Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason noted the Pirates had a hard time containing Bayfield’s Kyle Moreta.
Regardless of the Wolverines’ speed and strength, Bayfield was unable to push anything past the Pirate defense.
In the game’s 76th minute, the Pirates added an insurance goal on a Quinn Smith breakaway, finished by a successful shot on the goal, ending the game’s scoring at 2-0 in Pagosa’s favor.
Goalkeeper Zerek Jones recorded four saves on the day.
“It was a great match; everybody played really well together,” Kurt-Mason said.
Tuesday, the Pirates welcomed the Alamosa Mean Moose to Golden Peaks Stadium for the final regular season home game.
Again, the Pirates took control of the scoreboard early, with Searle scoring off a penalty kick in the game’s third minute.
Continuing an offensive push with a number of shots, Pagosa earned a corner kick which they converted into what Kurt-Mason called “one of the most beautiful goals of the season.”
Searle called out for Jacob Ormonde to receive the ball before firing it from the corner to Ormonde’s head and into the back of the goal.
Following the goal, the match became increasingly physical, with Alamosa receiving two yellow cards in a matter of two minutes.
As the half continued, Alamosa gained more possession, forcing Jones to record challenging saves.
The second half began with a number of handballs called on Alamosa, another Alamosa yellow card on a play that knocked Searle out of the game for a few minutes, and a foul in the box that resulted in a penalty kick for Pagosa.
Isaiah Gallegos was fouled at the box line in the game’s 56th minute, giving the Pirates a direct kick that Matt Fisher put to the back of the net, giving the Pirates their third goal of the game.
Alamosa responded with a goal minutes later, followed shortly after by a red card that left the Pirates with an 11-10 player advantage on the field.
With less than eight minutes left in the match, Alamosa tallied another yellow card, giving the Pirates a penalty kick that was taken by Ormonde and deflected by the keeper.
In the game’s final minutes, a foul by Ormonde in the box allowed the Moose to score on a penalty kick, leaving fans and players waiting for the game’s final whistle before Alamosa could complete any comeback.
“I can’t tell you how good they came together,” Kurt-Mason said of his team. “Their chemistry is phenomenal.”
Fans were also treated to the play of a taped-up Lars Schneider, who was reported to have sustained a season-ending third-degree shoulder separation during the Oct. 9 game against Ridgway.
“Anybody else would be out of the game,” Kurt-Mason said, adding that Schneider’s orthopedist said that no further damage could be done and playing was a matter of withstanding the pain.
“We played a very controlled game, kept our heads,” Kurt-Mason said, adding that Ormonde garnered player of the game honors.
While no official notification has been received, it appears that the win secures a playoff trip for the Pirates as winners of the region’s southern division.
Still, before the minds of players and fans and switch to a post-season frame of mind, the Pirates will face off against Center this afternoon at 4 p.m., looking to go 2-0 against the Vikings on the season.