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The Pagosa Springs High School boys soccer team is jumping into the season with its usual enthusiasm, with not only five scrimmages in the book already, but also the annual tradition of a team run up Wolf Creek Pass slated for tomorrow morning.
And so far, the season is looking bright for the team, coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason indicated.
“We have a lot of returning lettermen,” Kurt-Mason said of the team’s roster, calling it a “mature team.” The squad lost only one player from last year’s roster and boasts three seniors this year — Spence Scott, Ben Bard and Conner Burkesmith.
Helping the seniors to lead the team are seven juniors.
“They all know they have a chance to do some pretty special things this year, the upperclassmen, and they’re prepared to do that.”
The team also includes 10 sophomores (with only Joey Berndt not returning from last year), and 12 freshmen.
“They’ve got some talent, Kurt-Mason said of the freshmen. “They’re just a really solid class that has a lot of potential, which is great to see.”
But beyond the previous experience and raw talent of the team, Kurt-Mason highlighted the players’ early season work ethic, with positive practices with an atmosphere of healthy competition.
“It’s only going to make us better each and every week,” Kurt-Mason said of the team’s work ethic.
The Pirates have also already tasted action several times this season, with a scrimmage day in Denver last weekend where they played four scrimmages, and a Wednesday scrimmage in Aztec.
In Denver, Kurt-Mason said, the team’s first game was sub-par according to the team’s standards, but the athletes were “resilient and flexible to change,” leading the Pirates to finish the day with more success at the scrimmage day than in previous years.
Too, the coach noted that he played players in different positions throughout the day.
“We could see how versatile these guys are,” he said.
The scrimmages came against Manitou Springs, Castle View (Castle Rock), Legacy (Broomfield) and ThunderRidge (Highlands Ranch).
“The first game was a learning experience,” Kurt-Mason said, adding, “By the fourth game, we were playing really good. It was pretty fun to watch the guys develop like that in one day.”
With several scrimmages behind them, the team is now looking forward to beginning regular season action in Alamosa at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 26, against the Mean Moose.
The following week, the Pirates welcome the Center Vikings for a 4 p.m. Tuesday affair (Sept. 2), and the Salida Spartans for an 11 a.m. matchup on Saturday, Sept. 6.
The following Tuesday, Aug. 9, the team heads to Cortez for a 4 p.m. game against the Panthers.
Sept. 12, the team welcomes the Telluride Miners to Pagosa at 4 p.m., with a matchup against the Ridgway Demons the following day at 11 a.m.
Continuing their longest home stretch of the season, the Pirates welcome Alamosa to Golden Peaks Stadium on Sept. 16 at 4 p.m.
On Saturday, Sept. 20, the Buccaneers head to Crested Butte for a 1 p.m. game against the Titans, and head to Center the following Tuesday for a 4 p.m. affair.
On Sept. 27, the Pirates will host Cortez at 11 a.m. and, the next Tuesday, Sept. 30, will head to Bayfield for a 4 p.m. game.
On Oct. 3, Crested Butte comes to Pagosa for a 4 p.m. home matchup for the Pirates.
After a short break, the team will return to game action on Oct. 10 in Telluride at 4 p.m., and face off in Ridgway the following morning at 11.
The final regular game of the season will be a home affair for the Pirates versus Bayfield, with a scheduled 4 p.m. start for that game.