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Ignacio's Darlyn Mendoza-Lechuga (10) jump-kicks a ball away from Crested Butte's Harper Andrews (24) and out of danger during 2A Southwestern League play Sat., April 2, at IHS Field.
Ignacio's Anaya Lucero (5) beats Pagosa Springs' Shealyn Firestone to a ball near the sideline during non-league action Tues., March 29, at IHS Field.
Ignacio's Angela Baker (4) prepares to dribble past Crested Butte's Harper Andrews (24) during 2A Southwestern League play Sat., April 2, at IHS Field.
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
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Lady ’Cats hopefully turning a corner


Discounting a 10-nil loss on March 19 in Telluride due to the fact she lacked multiple players, making a mercy-rule defeat all the more inevitable, head coach Alisha Gullion with little hesitation implied Ignacio’s 8-0 home loss Saturday, April 2, to Crested Butte was probably the team’s forgettable outing to date. 

However, in attempting to build upon a quality 2-1 overtime loss to 3A Pagosa Springs earlier in the week, the fact that the Lady ’Cats actually had a goal disallowed against the Lady Titans – at the time No. 6 in the week-starting CHSAANow.com Class 2A rankings released 3/28, the day before PSHS’ visit – couldn’t conceal the skipper’s smile. 

“Going toe-to-toe with Crested Butte was exciting to watch. Before, I’d told them, like, ‘We just need to survive,’ ‘Keep your head up if they score,’ ‘We’re just going to make it through this game,’” Gullion said. “Now I’ve gotten to the point where I’m like, ‘Go out there and score!’ now that we’ve got defense down.” 

“I’d told them, ‘We can’t just have one girl up there trying to score; you all need to get up there.’ And they all got up there, they were all shooting – I didn’t see who got a foot on it,” she continued, recalling the moment where Ignacio very nearly denied CBCS a shutout. “It was towards the end of the first half, I believe, and when it came across one of the girls accidentally hit it – kind of, like, chopped at it – and it came down and another girl shot and scored. Then they called a handball.” 

Senior Maddie Bogard, meanwhile, successfully netted three goals for Crested Butte (2-4, 1-1 2A Southwestern) against IHS’ Trinity Strohl, the third Lady ’Cat utilized this spring as a keeper. But with a reported 19 saves, including a couple during the closing minutes saving Ignacio (1-4, 1-3) from a mercy-rule fate, Gullion seemed convinced of the junior’s capability. 

“She did play the whole game, and she did amazing. A couple quick ones got by in the beginning of the first half, but by the end you could see that confidence going way up; she had a good time back there,” Gullion said. “She was little nervous at first, obviously; it was her very first game, and she’d had two practices. But we’ve decided that Trinity is our number-one, and [Alexis] Ortiz will be our backup.” 

Sophomore Leigh Harpel scored two goals, and the Lady Titans got one apiece from senior Campbell Ryan, sophomore Nicola Roberts and junior reserve Morgan Feltus while junior Mara Pennie, credited with six saves, kept a clean sheet in net. 

Beaten by a 47th-minute penalty kick taken by Ignacio’s Darlyn Mendoza-Lechuga, PSHS standout Trista Tully couldn’t claim the same during the 3/29 thriller, in which neither the Lady ’Cats nor Lady Pirates scored before intermission, and in which the guests wouldn’t equalize until the 72nd when Springs’ Nika Hinger shot a Kori Lucero assist through traffic and past Ortiz. 

Undaunted, Ortiz made a crucial save in the 74th, stopping Lauren Monterroso on a breakaway started by a booming Tully free kick. IHS’ Laci Brunson and Harmony Reynolds each had chances to win the match in regulation, but each pushed her shot wide and out of bounds. 

Officials and coaches then had to confer regarding overtime procedures for a regular-season, non-league match because, frankly, probably nobody would have expected a match between IHS and PSHS to actually require OT. The contest would nearly require a second ten-minute bonus session, but Monterroso managed to put a 90th-minute shot low and right of Ortiz, off the keeper’s hands and just over the goal line at the post. 

“I mean, I don’t remember the last time we had the ball on Pagosa’s side constantly. We were getting shots on goal that entire time – I don’t remember that ever happening,” Gullion emphasized. “I’m hoping they’re starting to realize they’re competitors! We are competitors now; every game … I’m like ‘Get out there and come out on fire! Show them we can contend.’” 

Up next, Ignacio will journey north to Ridgway on Saturday, April 9 (the match had been set for the 23rd), for a 12 p.m. kickoff. Results from the Lady Bobcats’ 4/5 home match versus 3A Montezuma-Cortez were unavailable at press time. 

EXTRA ALTERATIONS 

A mid-March add to the team’s 2022 schedule, Ignacio’s slated road match Saturday, April 30, at Pagosa Springs has been re-listed for 6 p.m., rather than the original 11 a.m. start. Also, IHS’ postponed 3/12 home match versus 3A Bayfield has been re-listed for Wednesday, April 13, at 4 p.m. 

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