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The Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates, who were scheduled to kickoff the 2014 season this Saturday at 10 a.m. by welcoming Salida to Golden Peaks Stadium, will not be able to field a soccer team by then.
In fact, the girls weren’t even able to go to Canon City last weekend to play their pre-season scrimmages as they had planned.
“We didn’t go to Canon City,” coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason explained in a phone interview with SUN staff yesterday morning, “because we didn’t have enough eligible girls to make a full team. I have fewer kids than I have ever had in the past, since 1998.”
The coach explained that, back then, when the program started, there were over 50 kids who came out to play, but participation has dwindled over the years. Last year, he barely had enough players to fill both the varsity and junior varsity teams, and so far this year he doesn’t even have enough girls for a varsity team.
The coach hopes that once the girls’ basketball team wins the state championship he will be able to pick up a few more soccer players, but he emphasized that the main reason for the drop in numbers over the years is a drop in the overall student population in the school district.
“So, for this weekend,” Kurt-Mason continued, “I had two of my stronger girls going to a choir competition, and they won’t be back until Monday, so that drops my numbers down to eleven, and that was only if two other girls got in enough practices to be eligible.”
The coach clarified that a player must participate in at least five practices before they are allowed to play in a game. He also explained that, while there are 11 players on the field during a game, the games last for 80 minutes and there are no timeouts, so if a team doesn’t have any backup players to substitute every once in a while, those 11 would have to play the entire game continuously without any chance to rest.
“So I looked at Salida’s schedule,” Kurt-Mason said, “and Marcie (PSHS Athletic Director Marcie Ham) talked to the AD in Salida, and we are going to move that game to the twentieth of March.”
The Lady Pirates’ finished up last season with an even record (6-6) and ranked 42nd in the state 3A division, while the Salida Spartans ended last year ranked 34th with a win-loss record of 5-7, so the girls more than likely could have taken them anyway, even if they were tired.
However, it probably would be more prudent to wait until the Pirates have a full squad, so, before they face Salida on March 20, the girls will now begin the season with league action in a home game against Ignacio at 4 p.m. on March 18. The Lady Bobcats had a 0-12 record last year and were ranked 66th.
On March 22, the Ridgway girls will be in Pagosa at 11 a.m. for the Pirates’ third home game. By the end of last year, the Demons were ranked 59th and had a 2-10 record.
The Pirates first away game of the season, and possibly their toughest, will be on March 25 at 4 p.m. in Bayfield. The Lady Wolverines had the best record in the league, 12-3, and were ranked 21st in the state 3A division.
The last game of March and the first three games of April will all take place on the pitch here at Golden Peaks Stadium. On March 28 the Pirates will host the Telluride Miners, who were also a tough team last year with an 11-3 record and ranking of 24th.
The Alamosa Mean Moose, who will be here at 4 p.m. on April 1, weren’t any easier to beat than the Miners last year, with an 11-4 record and a rank of 25th.
It will be Pirates versus Vikings on April 4, when the Center girls will sail across the pass to land in Pagosa. They had a 5-9 record last year and were ranked 54th.
At this point, the Pirates will be half way through their season and the re-matches will begin with Ignacio coming to Pagosa at 4 p.m. on April 15. This will be the Pirates’ final home game of the regular season until they host Bayfield at 4 p.m. on May 5.
After Ignacio, the Pirates will travel to Center on the 17th, Telluride on the 25th, Ridgway on the 26th and Alamosa on the 29th.
“It’s hard to say anything about the team now,” Kurt-Mason concluded, “because it really hasn’t formed yet.”
The coach was able to tell SUN staff that so far he has no seniors, five really strong freshmen and a handful of sophomores and juniors who are returning from last year.