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Key win could give soccer team wild card

Staff Writer

SUN photo/Randi Pierce Hand ball? Direct kick for the Pirates? Nope. Although it appeared to be a hand ball after a Bayfield defender made the catch, a call was made on an infraction for playing on the ground moments before the handball occurred in Tuesday afternoon’s Pagosa victory over the Bayfield Wolverines. The Pirates won by a score of 2-0, with both goals coming in the final minutes of the game.

SUN photo/Randi Pierce
Hand ball? Direct kick for the Pirates? Nope. Although it appeared to be a hand ball after a Bayfield defender made the catch, a call was made on an infraction for playing on the ground moments before the handball occurred in Tuesday afternoon’s Pagosa victory over the Bayfield Wolverines. The Pirates won by a score of 2-0, with both goals coming in the final minutes of the game.

It was a mixed bag of results for the Pirate soccer team over the weekend, with two conference wins and one loss, bringing the Pirates to a 6-5 league record and 7-6 overall record.

This week, the Pirates play their final regular season game against Ridgway, which sports the same conference record as Pagosa. That game will determine the league’s third-place team.

The week began with a 1-0 victory last Thursday over Alamosa to even out the Pirates’ season series with the Mean Moose at 1-1. The Mean Moose previously beat the Pirates on Sept. 17.

Thursday’s game was the first soccer match in Alamosa’s new $3 million stadium.

The only goal of Thursday’s game came from James Berndt in the first half, thanks to an assist from Colton Polczynski with 22 minutes left on the clock.

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason said the team made defense its priority in the game.

“It was a total good team effort of defensive play first,” Kurt-Mason said.

In the game, Pirate goalie Briar Erskine notched eight saves, while the Pirates had 11 shots on goal in the game.

Saturday, the team then headed to Telluride, looking to even its season series with the Miners, who defeated the Pirates 4-1 on Sept. 27.

Again entering the game with the defense-first mindset, and, indeed, a good portion of the first half was a 1-1 game, with the Pirates’ goal from Berndt on a pass from Conner Bjork.

Before the half, however, the Miners were able to score, taking a 2-1 lead.

The Pirates again evened the game in the second half on a penalty kick by Berndt, and Pagosa would take that tie into overtime.

“It was an edge-of-your-seat game the whole game,” Kurt-Mason said, highlighting Pagosa’s passing and intensity.

Unfortunately, Telluride won by a score of 3-2 in overtime.

“It was a great game for both teams,” Kurt-Mason said.

The close game may also bode well for the Pirates as the team works to earn a wild card position in the playoffs, something that would happen should the Pirates beat Ridgway in this weekend’s matchup.

In the Telluride game, Berndt notched eight of the Pirates’ 20 shots. Briar had 19 saves in the game.

The, Tuesday, in front of a home crowd, the Pirates resumed their winning ways with a 2-0 victory over the winless Bayfield Wolverines.

The Wolverines appeared to play better than their record would indicate, holding Pagosa scoreless until the final minutes of the game, though the Pirates dominated possession during the game.

The Pirates’ first goal came with just over five minutes left on the clock, when Mathew Breman fed the ball to Berndt, who connected with the back of the net.

With less than two minutes in the game, the team got its second goal of the day when Breman made a successful shot from about 30 yards out.

“We’re getting our shots, but they’re just not going in the back of the net,” Kurt-Mason said. “It’s almost there. It’s just almost there.”

Pagosa recorded 28 shots in the game, with the Bayfield keepers tending to 13 of those.

“It just would not go in the back of the net,” Kurt-Mason said. “It was a well-played game, I thought.

Erskine notched seven saves for the Pirates.

“Our passing could have been tighter,” Kurt-Mason said, adding that his team played well defensively.

Tomorrow (Friday), the Pirates will look to end the regular season on a high note and maintain hopes for a playoff spot in an away matchup against Ridgway.

“They’ve been playing really well lately,” Kurt-Mason said of the competition.

The Pirates previously defeated the Ridgway Demons 2-1 on Sept. 27.

As of Wednesday, Crested Butte led the league with a perfect 12-0 record (13-2 overall), followed by Telluride in second with a 9-2 record (10-2 overall).

Following Pagosa and Ridgway is Alamosa at 4-7 in the conference (6-8 overall), Center at 1-9-1 (1-11-1 overall), and Bayfield with a 0-10-1 record (0-12-1 overall).

randi@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on October 17, 2013.