Late stall vs. Center scuttles Lady ’Cats

Ignacio’s Darlyn Lechuga-Mendoza (10) glances on the fly for an open teammate to whom she can pass, while effectively fending off Center’s Jaelin Padilla (11) during 2A Southwestern League action Saturday, May 15, at IHS Field.
Ignacio’s Alannah Gomez (6) turns the ball up field as Center’s Zembria Traversie (12) pursues during 2A Southwestern action Saturday, May 15, at IHS Field.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Ignacio falls 4-3 on last-minute goal

Senior Caitlyn Chapman scored two goals and Darlyn Lechuga-Mendoza one, but in the end such production still wasn’t enough to subdue 2A Southwestern League arch-nemesis Center upon sun-soaked IHS Field Saturday, May 15. 

Lady Viking Giselle Molina’s 78th-minute strike through traffic in front of Lady Bobcat goalkeeper Emily Cundiff was the visitors’ third in 11 minutes, since Fani Molinar’s successful 67th-minute follow-up – of a teammate’s shot Cundiff had initially stopped – kicked into overdrive a comeback from a 3-1 deficit. 

Molina would then score in the 73rd, leveling the contest at 3-all, but the outcome of the match ultimately depended on the performance of Center keeper Priscila Zapata, who continued to come under fire even as the clock became IHS’ worst enemy. 

Having already put her body at risk earlier in the second half to deny junior Alexis Pontine 1-v-1 (Zapata wisely elected to hold on to not only the ball but Pontine’s foot, preventing any chance Pontine may have had to quickly pry free and cash in a rebound before the officials encouraged the players’ separation), Zapata had to make a decisive move off her line in the 79th. 

With Lechuga-Mendoza rapidly bearing down on an unclaimed ball deep within CHS’ penalty area, it became a race between the Ignacio freshman seeking to force overtime, and the Center backstop bent on securing victory. Dropping again to her knees and then diving to her left, Zapata made her play on the ball first and was in no hurry to boot it back into the field as the officials began checking their own watches as barely a minute of stoppage time was added after 80 minutes’ regulation time expired. 

The Lady Vikings, playing with just ten uniformed players shown on their roster, improved to 1-3 overall, 1-3 SWL, as both Molina and Molinar – who’d followed up a corner kick in the 15th minute for the match’s icebreaker – each scored twice. 

Chapman buried a 39th-minute penalty kick to tie the score at 1-1 going into halftime, then took a Pontine pass in the 49th and beat Zapata five-hole to put the hungry Lady ’Cats up 2-1. Lechuga-Mendoza then struck in the 57th for a two-goal advantage, but in the end IHS still slipped to 0-3, 0-3 (with a season-opening 5-1 loss May 7 at Del Norte and the next day’s 10-0 loss at Ridgway already on the team’s ledger). 

Up next, CHS will host RHS, ranked ninth in the week starting Class 2A poll (released Monday, May 17), at 5 p.m. Friday, May 21, and then No. 6 Crested Butte at 10 a.m. the next morning. Barring any scheduling changes, Ignacio won’t see action again until Tues., May 25, when the Lady ’Cats are slated to make the long, northerly haul to CBCS, before returning to welcome Ridgway on the 27th. 

IHS’ scheduled match Monday afternoon, May 17, at No. 3 Telluride was postponed late that same morning to Tues., June 8, at 11 a.m. 

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