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The Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates played their last soccer game of the regular season in Bayfield against the Wolverines last Friday evening — a 2-0 loss evened out the girls’ final record at six wins, six losses and one tie, and even though they won’t advance into the post-season, the game was not a disappointment for the team or the coach.
“This was, by far, Pagosa’s best soccer,” Coach Lindsey-Kurt Mason bragged. “Everyone played above themselves! Incredible passing, no mistakes.”
The loss wasn’t a complete surprise, considering Bayfield is ranked No. 1 in the league with a record of 12 wins, two losses and one tie, and was undefeated on their home pitch. Pagosa finished the season with a fourth place ranking and had a 3-3 record for their away games.
“We put together the best effort of the season,” the coach explained. “Our game plan was pretty simple — defense first. We played with one striker, five midfielders and four defenders. We closed down all the passing lanes and turned away any of Bayfield’s play in the middle.
“It came down to who wanted the ball more, who got the air balls, and who played with more composure. I think we had the upper hand for the first half and most of the second.”
Over the season, Wolverine player Effie Nistler was the leading scorer in the league with 19 goals, six assists and 103 shots through 15 games, giving her an average of 1.267 goals per game.
“Shannel Wilson played 80 minutes of very tight one on one defense,” Kurt-Mason continued. “She stopped Bayfield’s leading scorer to one shot!”
When Wilson was named player of the game the coach said, “Shannel took on a new role and did an outstanding job. Along with everyone else, Shannel played the entire 80 minutes. She and the entire team played above themselves!”
Rose Graveson tended the goal for all 80 minutes and had 13 saves.
“The first Bayfield goal was interesting,” Kurt-Mason described. “Rose had made a great save by diving on the ball. She had her arm on top of the ball, in control, and a player from Bayfield kicked it in. The infraction was not called and they went up by one. Unlucky.”
Complaints about poor officiating continued.
“Later, Maddy had a shot the keeper caught,” the coach went on, “but fell back and it looked like she broke the plane of the goal when she turned a full circle to play the ball back out. Unlucky.”
Brooke Bowdridge led the Pirate offense with five shots, four in the first half and one in the second. Katie Blue managed to get four shots total, Maddy Davey got off three shots and Shayla Lucero got one.
“Maddy had two direct kicks,” Kurt-Mason explained, “from thirty and forty yards that their keeper got her fingers on to deflect away. The thirty-yard kick was placed perfectly. Maddy bent the ball around Bayfield’s four-person wall and nearly went in.”
The Pirates ended the season ranked 35 in Colorado 3A. The Classical Academy Titans from Colorado Springs are ranked No. 1 in the division, while the Wolverines are 13, the Telluride Miners are 14 and the Alamosa Maroons are 19.
Kurt-Mason explained that the top two teams in each league automatically advance into the playoffs. In addition, Alamosa was selected as a wildcard team, but the Pirates are done for this season. “We have a number of friendly matches planned for the summer and the Brazilian soccer camp here in July. Our goal for the summer is to keep passionate about the game.”
The coach went on to lament the loss of this year’s seniors — Blue, Angie Gallegos, Leticia Xavier, Haliegh Zenz, Rylee Houston, Katie Laverty and Heather Brooks — plus the team will lose Davey, a junior, who plans on moving to California next year.
“We will miss the senior leadership,” the coach concluded, “but we have a very enthusiastic and dedicated group that will try to fill their absence.” He said he has kept an eye on the girls moving up from the middle school and he expressed confidence that they will make a strong addition to the team next year.