In heartbreaking fashion, the Pirates fell short of defeating the Roaring Fork Rams and continuing their playoff run on Oct. 27 — with the Rams scoring the sole and winning goal with just over 7 minutes left on the clock.
“They came off the field knowing they did their best,” Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason said of the Pirates. “It could have gone either way.”
Play looked even as the match began, with Roaring Fork and Pagosa taking turns shooting a number of close shots, and the intensity increasing throughout the half.
A foul near the goal in the game’s 12th minute gave Roaring Fork a prime chance to score, but Pirate goalkeeper Zerek Jones failed to agree, blocking the shot.
Five minutes later, Jacob Ormonde cleared a penalty kick that resulted from a handball, again denying the Rams a goal.
In one of the closest shots of the first half, Pirate Quinn Smith bounced a ball off the goal post, earning excited and frustrated shouts from his teammates and fans.
Halfway through the first half, Roaring Fork changed its defensive style, with the four defenders clearing the ball without making short passes — a change that, for the rest of the game, caused possession problems as the Pirates tried to move into offensive territory.
Shooting and physical play continued throughout the half, with a series of Pirate shots finding the Roaring Fork goalie during stoppage time, and the teams taking a 0-0 tie into the half.
As the second half started, Pagosa looked strong on offense and Ormonde offered a strong defensive performance.
A penalty kick nine minutes into the half taken by Riley Searle was just wide, with Roaring Fork also recording a number of close shots.
With just over 17 minutes remaining, a series of shots kept Jones and the Pirates on their toes, including a wide shot that was deflected and the following corner kick by the Rams.
With about 14 minutes remaining, Riley Searle returned the favor when he found the Roaring Fork goalie with a corner kick.
With just over seven minutes remaining, the Rams made a move the Pirates were unable to match — a goal.
Despite the goal coming with only minutes left to play, both teams continued the physical game, with talented saves, close shots and yellow cards for both teams that forced Pagosa’s Will Brown and the Roaring Fork goalie off the field, giving the Pirates more opportunity when Brown subbed back into the game and missed a shot by inches.
When the final whistle sounded, however, the Pirates found themselves on the wrong end of the score and at the end of their season.
“I think they played the brand of soccer that we could be proud of,” Kurt-Mason said. “They didn’t give up. They left everything on the field every game.”
While admitting to a problem initiating a strong passing game and giving up the ball a few times when they shouldn’t, the coach offered praise for the defensive work of Ormonde, Matt Fisher and Jones, as well as Gabe Lister and, ultimately, the rest of the team.
“Matt Fisher was a junkyard dog again. He just shut them down any chance he had,” Kurt-Mason said, adding, “If Zerek didn’t stop it, Matt would spoil their attempts.”
In one of his strongest performances of the game, Jones recorded 19 saves.
Offensively, the Pirates tallied 12 shots in the contest.
“We had a good season, everything was serendipitous at the end,” Kurt-Mason said, referring to the club’s playoff run.
Roaring Fork moved on to the second round of playoffs following their win, but fell prey to No. 1 seed Colorado Springs Christian by a score of 4-0.
CSC, which has only allowed 10 goals on the season, faces No. 8 Kent Denver today.
Although the Pirates’ season is complete, Kurt-Mason said team members are not burned out, but are, instead, continuing their focus with competitive club play.
Though the team loses two key players, Lars Schneider and Jacob Ormonde, to graduation, the Pirates look to be a strong squad again next year with a high number of players likely to return.