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Both of this week’s high school soccer games went into overtime.
The Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates faced a determined Viking defense when the Center team sailed into Golden Peaks Stadium on April 19, seeking redemption for their 6-0 loss to the Pirates earlier this month then, Tuesday afternoon, Pagosa played host to Durango’s junior varsity team for some non-league play.
“We played a very tough Center team Friday,” Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason admitted.
After a battle that lasted 80 minutes and spanned both halves of the game, the score was still tied 0-0, forcing the combatants into overtime.
“Their keeper had an outstanding game,” the coach conceded. “We had 32 shots on goal. Center defended the box quite well.”
Maddie Davey tried at least nine times to put the ball into the back of the net, but every time she took a shot it was blocked by the Center goalie. In an interview earlier this season, Kurt-Mason explained that he only counts a shot if the ball is headed for the goal and the keeper is forced to block it; if the kick goes high or to either side, it doesn’t get logged as a shot.
Angie Gallegos kept up the pressure, attempting seven shots, Rylee Houston had four, and Brooke Bowdridge contributed three. Johannah Laverty, Katie Blue, Olivia Reinhardt and Haleigh Brown each got credit for two shots while Shayla Lucero tried one.
“We had a very good passing game going for the first 20 minutes,” Kurt-Mason explained, “with some good chances of scoring.”
In the end, it was Brown’s unassisted kick from 20 yards out, with just two minutes gone in the overtime period, that finally clinched the win for the Pirates.
“I think, as a team, we abandoned the passing game and forced our shots too early,” the coach lamented. “We needed to have a little more patience with our game plan.”
The action on the other end of the pitch was quite a bit slower, with Rosie Graveson playing in goal the first half without once having to deal with a shot from the Center offense. In the second half, Maria Campuzano got credit for two saves.
Haleigh Zenz was named the player of the game, and in the coach’s citation he stated, “Haliegh stopped many attacks. She organized our defense and distributed the ball well. Her work rate and vision were key.”
The end result of the Pirates’ hard fought victory was a 5-3 league record and an advance to the No. 29 spot in the state 3A standings.
“Give them credit,” Kurt-Mason said of his players. “They played a very hard team into overtime and finally got one to go in off of Haliegh Brown’s shot from 20 yards. Our team defended well and did not allow Center to get anything going.”
There were only two instances where the Vikings were able to get close enough to attempt a shot on the goal, and both were stopped by Campuzano. Otherwise, most of the action occurred on the Center side of the midfield line.
Concerning the Tuesday night 1-1 tie with the Durango Demons, Kurt-Mason said, “It was an incredible game for us — a great measure of improvement from the first time we played them this year.”
Anissa Lucero scored the first goal of the game, unassisted from just inside the 18-yard box with 24:38 left in the first half. She had one other shot during the game, while Davey got credit for two shots.
“We had a friendly match at the beginning of the year that showed us what we needed to work on,” the coach explained. “I think the Durango team couldn’t do anything wrong that day.”
The Pirates played a pre-season scrimmage against the Demons on March 16 that didn’t go well, though no score or official stats were kept. Tuesday afternoon’s game, however, had a much better outcome.
“We were a different team last night,” Kurt-Mason said. “We scored first from a pass through a defensive seam that sent Anissa one-on-one with the keeper. She scored and we kept Durango on their heels for much of the first and second halves.”
The pirate goalkeepers, Graveson and Campuzano, got credit for two saves each. The Demons managed to score a goal with 37:13 left in the second half, knotting the score at 1-1 and sending the game into overtime. After 10 minutes, with no goals, the game was called with the tie.
“Our passing game and defending has come a long ways since the start of the season,” Kurt-Mason concluded, “and so has the mind-set of the team. They are confident and won’t quit. They hustled for 90 minutes and kept a very good team from establishing any kind of rhythm.”
The Pirates hit the road to battle in Telluride tomorrow and in Ridgway on Saturday, which leaves two games in the regular season — a home game against Alamosa on April 30 and an away game in Bayfield on May 3.
If the Pirates extend their three-game unbeaten streak, they stand a good chance of participating in the post-season action.