Soccer gives Demons an unexpected fright

Ignacio’s Ebonee Gomez (11) battles Ridgway’s Samantha Scherner for possession Friday, April 19, in Ridgway as Lady ’Cats Sydnee Cruz (22) and Amanda Henderson (7) observe in support.
Ignacio’s Brianna Henderson (10) outruns Ridgway’s Finn Doherty (9) to a ball during action Friday, April 19, in Ridgway.
Ignacio’s Sydnee Cruz (22) gets fouled by a Ridgway player during action Friday, April 19, in Ridgway.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

IHS ladies vie for second ‘W’ at Ridgway

Knowing fatigue – accumulated during the course of four matches within roughly 21 hours – would likely be more an enemy than either Ridgway or Telluride, Ignacio head coach Alisha Gullion vocalized an urgency to her team at halftime of their opening test Friday afternoon, April 19, at RHS.

“I want this game!” she shouted, possibly loud enough for the hosting Lady Demons, whose 1-0 lead at the time wasn’t looking stable enough to survive another 40 minutes, to hear. “I don’t even care about the next game.”

She undoubtedly did internally, but with the Lady Bobcats threatening to earn a second win in one spring for the first time since 2010, she wanted them to realize and recognize the time had all but arrived.

Ridgway senior standout Caitlin Sanchez managed to chip a ball over sophomore goalie Rylee Pearson who’d denied an attempted penalty kick in the 28th minute, just before the Lady Demons broke the ice in the 29th – from beyond 20 yards out in the 45th minute, doubling the advantage, before IHS buckled down again, content to play a defensive-oriented game and wait for a home-run opportunity to emerge.

Unfortunately, it never did, and RHS sophomore Cass Rikkers put the issue to bed with two goals during the final five minutes, making for a 4-0 final score. One goal came during a scrum in which Pearson (unoff. 19 total saves) appeared to injure a leg – not a promising omen for the second showdown.

Gullion elected to put junior Jaylene Riepel in net, hoping more than anything to buy Pearson time to heal enough so as to still be serviceable. What the skipper got instead was a Pearson-like performance by a player whom she admitted had practiced at the position, but had not yet played it in competition.

Again, looking for a surprise counterattack offensively, Ignacio managed to keep Ridgway away from Riepel as much as possible, despite the Lady Demons gaining nine corner kicks and forcing Riepel into making (unofficially) 11 saves on 14 shots-on-goal.

RHS’ Emma Wallin finally netted a shot in the 33rd minute, and Shelby Sisler followed with a 34th-minute finish of a 2-v-1 Sanchez pass to Riepel’s back post. The Lady Demons’ heat continued intensifying, with Finn Doherty converting a breakaway in the 35th, providing the home side a bit of relief going into intermission.

And despite Pearson managing a second-half return, Ridgway’s players appeared more determined than ever to not only show their skills to IHS’ first-string keeper, but also guarantee they’d go to the next night’s Prom having given their schoolmates something to proudly discuss.

In the 44th minute, Sanchez lofted a perfect corner to the far post which Doherty then head-banged, rocker-style, into the net for a 4-0 lead. Sanchez then crossed a ball in the 45th, which Lydia VanArsdell – the winning goalie in Match 1 – chest-trapped, let bounce once, and then rocketed past a helpless Pearson (who unofficially totaled 12 stops on 16 SOG).

Senior Evelyn Wood then struck in the 65th, off an ‘assist’ from Wallin, who’d stolen the ball from IHS’ Alexis Pontine with Pearson already off her line in hopes of stopping the play before it got too near. Rikkers then put the finishing touch on a 7-nil win (keeper Aynsleigh Wood earned the shutout) in highlight-reel fashion, settling a 68th-minute Sanchez cross with her foot and then zipping a volley top-shelf over Pearson’s extended arms.

Having lost sophomore Amanda Henderson to a facial injury sustained in an accidental collision during the second half, the Lady ’Cats were down to one available substitute for continued 3A/2A Southwestern League action the next day versus THS.

And as one might expect, the Lady Miners took advantage on their own pitch. One result of 10-0 was reported, and though multiple inquiries to persons connected with each team were made, regarding the exact result of the second set-to up in San Miguel County, it would be reasonable to assume IHS’ situation wouldn’t have improved a whole lot.

But if Round 2 against Telluride was indeed played and a second defeat the outcome, it would have dropped Ignacio to 1-10 overall, 1-10 against all SWL opposition and 1-7 versus its 2A members. Up next, Ignacio will host 2A league nemesis Center at 4 p.m. Friday, April 26, and then entertain 3A Alamosa on the 27th with kickoff set for 11 a.m.

Results from the team’s home match versus 3A Bayfield – rescheduled from Tuesday, 4/23, to Wednesday, 4/24 – were unavailable at press time.

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