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Pirate soccer team to close season against Ignacio

With the soccer season winding down, the Pirates find themselves with scant hope for a postseason appearance, but long on determination to go down fighting.

Going 0-4 during the past week — a 3-0 loss against the Ridgway Demons on Friday, a 4-2 loss against the Alamosa Mean Moose on Saturday, a Monday 1-0 loss to the Durango Demons JV squad and a 4-2 loss to the Bayfield Wolverines on Tuesday — the Pirates nonetheless continue to play with heart and mettle despite a season 3-11 record (3-8 in 3A Region 5).

On Friday, the Pirates pretty much repeated a 3-0 loss to the Demons on March 17 in Cortez. Following a Demon tap in the box that gave Ridgway a 1-0 advantage at the end of the first half, the Pirates gave up two more goals in the second to end the game with a 3-0 loss.

Still dealing with a lineup beset with absentees, Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason gave credit to Angie Gallegos, saying, “She stepped into the sweeper role on defense — normally, she’s a stopper — and did an outstanding job. Her skills are getting sharper with each game.”

Kurt-Mason also had praise for Anissa Lucero, saying, “She is involved in all our attacks and comes all the way back to our defensive third to help defend.”

Kurt-Mason was pleased with his team’s effort, despite the loss. “Katy Blue, Maddy Davey, and Angette Pastuzack ran the entire 80 minutes. They have huge hearts, in more ways than one,” Kurt-Mason said.

Keeper Brooklyn DuCharme logged 10 saves for the day.

The Pirates returned home the next morning to host the Alamosa Mean Moose for a match that, had the Pirates played their first half with the same determination shown in the second, could have resulted in a win for Pagosa.

Down 3-0 at the end of the first half, the Pirates rallied in the second, harassing the Mean Moose offense, but coming up short at the end.

“Once we decided to mark tightly, we held Alamosa to a standstill,” Kurt-Mason said.

By the same token, with Pagosa refusing to lay down and showing more confidence, the Pirate offense threatened to take the game back from the Mean Moose. The momentum changed early in the second when Blue connected with a bullet from 27 yards out, the shot making it past two defenders and whizzing past Alamosa’s keeper. Minutes later, Lucero scored with a quick attack on a loose Mean Moose ball.

“Alamosa seemed stunned after her goal,” Kurt-Mason said. “She scored because of her reaction, speed and knowing where to be at the time, but, most of all, her desire to be first to the ball.”

Unfortunately, with Alamosa managing to slip into the Pirate box and sneak in a final goal in the closing moments of the game, Pagosa finished with a 4-2 loss.

“With Alamosa up by two, we felt we had overcome a hurdle and regained our confidence,” Kurt-Mason said. “These things come at different times, even late in the season.”

Kurt-Mason added, “Sydney Aragon had the best game of her season. She read the attack, as she did with Ridgway, and cut the angles down quite well.”

Blue led the Pirates with four shots on goal, while DuCharme logged 11 saves for the game.

After going down 2-0 to the Demons JV squad during the first game of the season on March 13, the Pirates came up short again in Durango, but kept the score a little closer. Down 1-0 throughout most of the game, the Pirates held tight on defense, holding the Demons to that single goal.

“Our transition from offense to defense was too slow for a quick Durango team,” Kurt-Mason said. “Our marking was too loose.”

Crediting the defense and especially his keeper DuCharme, Kurt-Mason said, “In a short amount of time, she has learned the keeper position very well. She is one of the best in the region. Her footwork and field play has come a long way.”

DuCharme logged 19 saves in the game, while Gallegos led the team with four shots on goal.

Facing a team that had trounced them 8-0 at home on April 10, the Pirates took a game to Bayfield (13-0-1) that, had they been playing that way all season, might well have boosted Pagosa into playoff contention.

With the top-ranked Wolverines getting out ahead 3-0 by the end of the first half, the Pirates returned for the second with heart and passion, despite losing four players at the half (due to their participation in a high school musical). Holding the Wolverines to a single goal, the Pirates put a mark up on the scoreboard after Davey scored off an assist from Lucero — only the fifth time all season that a goal has been scored against Bayfield.

“We’ve been waiting all season long for the team to play like they did against Bayfield,” Kurt-Mason said. “Before the game, I said to them that they had to find it within themselves to play with desire and heart. It’s the best ever they’ve put into a game all season long.”

DuCharme logged 19 saves for the second day in a row. Aside from her goal, Davey also led with two shots on goal.

Tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m., the Pirates finish up their season when they host the 2-9 Bobcats from Ignacio. The Pirates scored a 4-0 win against the Bobcats in Ignacio on April 14 and are odds-on favorites to finish with a season-ending win at home.

Friday’s game is on the field at Golden Peaks Stadium, free and open to the public.

jim@pagosasun.com

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