Pre-break, soccer’s spirit unbroken

Ignacio's newest girls' soccer head coach, Oscar Cosio wraps up his first pre-match speech
Ignacio's newest girls' soccer head coach, Oscar Cosio (right, red shirt), wraps up his first pre-match speech in the huddle as the black-clad Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates await the 2013 season's kickoff on IHS Field March 19.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Already facing a triple-whammy of a weekend with a March 29 trip to Bayfield followed by a neutral-site doubleheader against Telluride the next morning, the Lady Bobcats’ luck took unfortunate additional hits in each before the defeats became history.

Worst of all was senior goalkeeper Nicole Williams’ left knee injury — roughed up at BHS, then aggravated versus THS, limiting her to just 35 minutes of first-half play in the former fray and 38 in the latter, from which she was assisted off Montezuma-Cortez’s Norman Johnson Memorial Field to receive further medical attention in Durango.

It was not even remotely the scenario first-year head coach Oscar Cosio would have envisioned for his team to enter spring break, but amid the respective 9-0, 12-0, 10-0 outcomes, there was at least one notable positive for him to build upon.

Inserted in net for four minutes prior to halftime at Wolverine Country Stadium, Destinee Lucero was again the boss’s choice to spell Williams — who, after Amya Bison’s six-minute stint between the sticks starting the second half in Bayfield, managed to gut out the final 32.

And fortunately there was enough action heading her way to help take her mind off a still-battered right ankle.

“Oh my gosh … It was actually pretty tough,” she said after fully completing the second match against THS. “I mean, I’ve been practicing [it] … I just wasn’t ready for Nicole to get hurt, and for me to go out there.

But neither did Telluride, who’d greeted the wounded Williams with six goals in the first 13 minutes of the first match and led 9-nil by the time she was pulled in the 38th. Cosio, however, had made a referee-approved decision to forego a mercy-rule ending, allowing his own side as much time on-pitch as possible for game-situation reps.

“It was a good opportunity for the girls,” agreed THS coach Mick Hill. “There’s obviously a difference in skill level and experience level between the two teams, but I thought our shooting was good and our passing was crisper than it has been in past games.”

Lucero would finish with four total saves (Williams left with six, and also snared 18 against the Lady Wolverines) as THS managed to put three shots past before the match was halted in the 83rd minute. One, however, was Cirkine Sherry’s penalty kick in the 59th, and also rendering her nearly helpless was Renny Engbring’s perfect header in the 69th off a Toni Hill cross deep into the area.

Able to adequately regroup during a lengthy intermission between the day’s contests, Lucero and the Lady Cats brought a newfound energy with them in between the boundaries for the encore.

Engbring, who netted a hat trick in each meeting, scored the eventual winner off a Morgan Fansler feed in the 14th, and struck again unassisted in the 24th. But the 2-0 lead was all the Lady Miners (8-2, 7-1 3A Southwestern) could manage before the halftime whistle sounded.

“I think Destinee’s a really good goalie,” said midfielder Cheyenne Cook, informed that Lucero had collected 10 stops before the pause and 14 after for a strong total of 24. “And I’m proud of Nicole too — sad she got hurt, but I’m really proud.”

Exhaustion rapidly became IHS’ worst enemy in their last half before a classroom-free week, and THS iced the match with four goals — including Engbring’s hatter in the 47th — in just 14 minutes. Senior sweeper Gina DiStefano later punctuated the scoring with highlight-reel goals in the 60th and 61st minutes, the former an eye-opening, upper-90 rocket of a 25-yard direct kick over a wall of Lady Cats.

“Telluride’s a really good team; it was kind of hard to keep up with them — a lot of fast girls,” said Cook, well-marked along with Bison and Miel Diaz, and likewise denied a shot on senior Scout Franklin.

IHS’ first chance to improve on its 0-5, 0-5 status comes April 9 at Alamosa on Al Bennett Field.

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