Fri Mar 25th, 2022
Special to the Drum
Not having to sweat the challenge of “making do” with a roster depleted by early Spring Break departures, Ignacio head coach Alisha Gullion grinned Friday afternoon, March 18, about using midfielder Alexis Ortiz to fill in for goalkeeper Harmony Reynolds – a newcomer this spring, but who’d guarded the net in IHS’ season-opening 8-2 rout of Del Norte three days earlier.
“Plays a really good center, we’d been talking to her about being that pivot – getting the passing options, helping with the offense – and that’s exactly what she did. I’d had to throw her on defense at one point; she played awesome defense,” Gullion had said last season of the versatile now junior. “I’d put her up top and she’d help. Ortiz, man… The thing I really appreciate about her is that she can play any position.”
And though visiting Ridgway, atoning for a season-opening 5-0 road loss at 3A Delta on the 15th, managed to put nine balls past Ignacio’s backup backstop, Ortiz’s numerous saves kept the final margin 9-3 as opposed to something much greater. Often times, one could hear ‘Nice save, goalie!’ coming from not only IHS’ supporters but the Lady Demons’ loyalists as well.
Unfortunately, RHS keeper Aynsleigh Wood, a senior, received similar praise as she denied several quality chances.
Taking a 36th-minute Sophia Escobar Mulas throw-in to Wood’s left, Ignacio junior Laci Brunson – another squad newcomer most known, like Reynolds, for her basketball and volleyball exploits – beat defender Bella Janda to go 1-v-1 with Wood, and denied the senior a shutout with a goal cutting RHS’ lead at the time down to 5-1. Having registered a three-goal hat trick against DNHS, Brunson’s torrid start to the spring continued shortly after halftime, as she ran onto a wind-aided ball in space and, on a breakaway, beat Wood again.
That brought the Lady ’Cats back to 6-2 (Ridgway junior Maizy Gordon had scored her fourth goal of the match less than a minute after Brunson’s first), and even in defeat the team went out on a high note as sophomore Darlyn Mendoza-Lechuga – who’d also recorded a hatter against the Lady Tigers – took a 74th-minute throw from senior Elisia Cruz deep into the guests’ penalty area and shot it past Wood for the 2A Southwestern League match’s final score.
Hitting the road early the next morning, the Lady ’Cats traveled to Telluride. Ranked No. 5 in the week-starting CHSAANow.com Class 2A poll despite an 0-2 start to their season, which hit 0-3 via a 4-1 road loss at 4A No. 8 Durango fewer than 48 hours earlier, the Lady Miners – playing their fourth match in eight days – protected their pitch in blanking IHS 10-nil.
THS (1-3, 1-0 2A SWL) led 7-0 at intermission, effectively mirroring Ridgway’s 6-1 advantage at the same juncture.
Additional statistics were unavailable at press time.
Gordon finished with an impressive six goals in Ridgway’s road win while Samara Mejia, also a junior, netted both of Del Norte’s goals in their road loss. Senior Alexis Pontine, who’d logged a hat trick against DNHS late last season, scored twice in the Lady Bobcats’ win over the Lady Tigers.
The Lady Bobcats (1-2, 1-2) will next see action Saturday, April 2, when Crested Butte – ranked sixth in the 3/21 Class 2A poll – visits IHS Field for a 2 p.m. kickoff.
CHSAANOW.COM CLASS 2A GIRLS’ SOCCER RANKINGS (3/21)
Others Receiving Votes – Colorado Springs Fountain Valley, Rye, Colorado Springs Vanguard, Buena Vista, Evergreen Clear Creek, IGNACIO, Denver Rocky Mountain Lutheran, Edwards Vail Christian, Ellicott, Nederland.