Struggling against a side stoked by its season-best performance the previous day, Alamosa’s Traci Pitts let her Mean Moose know a 3-0 halftime advantage in Ignacio on Saturday, April 27 was anything but satisfactory.
And IHS counterpart Oscar Cosio himself foresaw what his Lady Bobcats would face once the whistle blew to restart the rematch of teams, which didn’t exactly depart AHS’ Al Bennett Field on the best of good terms just nine days before.
“We knew Alamosa would bring it in the second half,” he said, after the visitors increased their rate of fire on senior goalkeeper Nicole Williams – whose right leg soon became the hosts’ best and, quite often, only weapon in reply.
But to the Lady Bobcats’ credit, they once again contained the 3A Southwestern’s third-place team for a solid 15 minutes as they’d done to start the Saturday match at IHS Field – picking up right where they left off from a 3-1 loss to Center, truly the league’s success story in 2013.
Cosio told of a first half in which senior defender Angel Paul stepped up to convert a penalty kick, leaving Ignacio and the visiting Lady Vikings (5-8-1, 4-7-0 SWL as of April 29) tied at 1-1 before CHS broke through in the second to decisively separate.
Knowing they’d virtually avenged themselves and the 8-nil thumping taken out at Center Community Park earlier this season, IHS went into battle against the Moose with confidence – but also with a crucial lack of speed, as freshman Miel Diaz and junior Gabriela Garcia were both injury casualties, and senior Destinee Lucero (Williams’ backup, no less) on the inactive list.
Showing fans one of the loop’s lethal right legs, AHS senior Blake Faucett missed with a long blast on the first attempted shot in each half, but the Lady Cats showed little panic. Sophomore forward Tayleur Hillis, one of the state’s best scoring threats, finally put Alamosa (8-3-1, 7-3-0) ahead in the 15th, with a pass to freshman Darby Bolt for the finish past Williams.
Hillis then took an assist from junior Nicole Broyles in the 21st and netted the first of her four goals, and after an errant right elbow by IHS junior Roshae Weaver was called inside Ignacio’s 18, Faucett stepped up and nailed a 31st-minute PK for the standing score at intermission.
“Our girls played awesome that first half,” said Cosio, recently named the winner of the second annual La Plata County Adult Role Model Award. “They maintained formation really well.”
Williams made a media-counted 17 total stops during the initial 40-plus minutes, but as her ailing left knee began to tire and limit her mobility, Alamosa’s attacks became relentless once Hillis struck in the 55th.
From that moment on, against gassed resistance, the Moose scored once per three minutes on average, with Faucett’s point-blank finish in the 72nd and freshman Elise Tolley’s nifty near-post roller in the 79th polishing off the 12-nil (the CHSAA mercy rule had been waived) outcome.
“I had moved my defenders [like junior Ashlee Romero, who marked in the 70th] up to play offense,” Pitts said, “so it’s nice for us to see that we have many players who can step up and score.”
Looking to throw a mega-wrench into the upcoming postseason works, Ignacio (0-11, 0-11) ended their season Tuesday, April 30, versus circuit frontrunners Bayfield (10-2-1, 8-1-1). Results from Senior Day – the last home match for Williams (24 total saves versus AHS), Paul, Lucero, Mary Kate Adams, Aly Troup, ShaRay Rock, Kayla Knipp and Breana Benavidez – were unavailable before the Drum’s deadline.
By way of a 2-2 draw April 27 at Telluride (10-2-1, 9-1-1), BHS went 1-0-1 this spring with the Lady Miners, but could still lose the SWL title with a loss to either IHS or fourth-place Pagosa Springs on May 3 – and a Telluride win over sixth-place Ridgway that same afternoon.