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Soccer team logs two wins to start schedule

Based on the first two games of the season, the Pagosa Springs High School boys’ soccer team looks to be an offensive powerhouse, outscoring opponents 12-1 in the young season.

The Pirates began their regular season with a home game against the Palisade High School Bulldogs on Sept. 2, defeating the Bulldogs 5-1 in a game challenged by weather.

The first goal of the season came from junior Diego Gutierrez in the third minute of the game, when Eli Stephens crossed the ball to Gutierrez.

The Buccaneers struck again 31 minutes into the game, with senior Riley Searle scoring off a direct kick from about 35 yards.

Palisade fought back, scoring its only goal of the game four minutes later off a diagonal cross.

Intent on giving the Pirates the momentum going into the half, Gutierrez scored off an Eli Stephens header.

Taking a 3-1 lead into the second half, senior Matt Fisher knocked in his first goal of the season 19 minutes into the half on a free kick from about 20 yards.

Senior Gabe Lister rounded out the day’s scoring 27 minutes into the second half when he finished a cross from junior Sully Smith.

“That was the great score,” Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason said of the goal, which was a play the team had worked on in practice.

In the play, Smith crossed the ball to the far post from outside of the 18-yard box, with Lister finishing the play on the opposite side.

Junior Quinn Smith took a break from his duties as a striker and played keeper in the game, recording 11 saves against the team Kurt-Mason described as having a strong midfield and some strong forwards.

On the day, the Pirates outshot the Bulldogs 21-16.

“The difference was that we were more aggressive to the fifty-fifty balls,” Kurt-Mason said.

The PSHS team played its second home game of the season Tuesday afternoon, defeating Montezuma-Cortez High School 7-0.

Searle made the first goal of the game in the eighth minute, with junior Dean Hampton striking in the 15th minute.

In the 21st minute, Fisher fed a corner kick to Stephens for the third goal of the game.

The Pirates held the 3-0 lead for 11 minutes into the second half, when Stephens fed a throw-in to Quinn Smith, who headed the ball in for the team’s fourth goal.

In the 22nd minute of the half, Smith struck again, scoring his second of the day and the team’s fifth.

In the 26th minute, Searle fed a corner kick to Coltin Polczynski for the sixth goal of the day.

In the 28th minute, a Pagosa goal was called back after Isaiah Thompson admitted to the referee that the ball glanced off his hand.

While some may believe Thompson should have stayed quiet, Kurt-Mason considers the moment one of the day’s highlights.

“He has the integrity to admit his fault in that,” Kurt-Mason said.

With the score still 6-0, the Pirates played on until Gutierrez found the back of the goal in the 33rd minute, scoring the team’s final goal of the contest.

The Pirates dominated possession in the game, outshooting the Panthers 27-5 on the day.

“They’re having a blast out there,” Kurt-Mason said of his team, noting that a lot of players were contributing goals from different parts of the field and the team was doing better at connecting short passes, adding. “Good things happen after that.”

Kurt-Mason indicated he is also pleased with the team’s patience in the midfield, allowing the Pirates to transition into an offensive mode.

Next up, the squad will work to stay focused as they head to Farmington for a 4 p.m. game today against Farmington High School.

randi@pagosasun.com

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