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Ignacio freshman Aspen Naranjo (16) pursues the ball against Alamosa's Bea Yeneza (6) during season-opening action Tuesday, March 14, at Alamosa High School. Naranjo was one of seven underclassmen suiting up for the Lady Bobcats' first match of Spring 2023.
Ignacio sophomore Ollyvia Howe (17) chases after an unclaimed ball during season-opening action Tuesday, March 14, at Alamosa. Howe assisted on the Lady Bobcats' first goal (scored by senior Harmony Reynolds) of Spring 2023.
Ignacio senior Sierra Red (21) challenges Alamosa's Jayden Wubben (5) for possession during season-opening action Tuesday, March 14, at Alamosa High School.
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 kick off new soccer season 


IHS strong away, not so much in town  

Burned for five goals in each half Saturday afternoon, March 18, Ignacio’s first 2A Southwestern League match of Spring 2023 didn’t go the way head coach Alisha Gullion and first-year assistant/former Lady Bobcat Tori Burch (née Archuleta) would have preferred – even if they weren’t facing SWL force Ridgway. 

Senior standout Maizy Gordon scored five goals upon IHS Field, plus registered an assist as the Lady Demons improved to 2-0 overall (1-0 SWL) prior to visiting 3A Delta’s JV on the 23rd. Sophomore Madi Miller tallied two goals and an assist, freshman Adelyn Gardiner scored twice and assisted on two others, and sophomore Lily Hawkins netted one goal. Senior Eleni Wallin logged two assists in RHS’ mercy-rule road victory. 

Having had their 3/16 trip to 3A Montezuma-Cortez postponed – but possibly rescheduled for Monday, March 20 – the Lady ’Cats dipped to 0-2, 0-1 SWL after being unable to match the quality of their season-opening effort on the 14th at 3A Alamosa. 

In that match, IHS trailed skipper Claire Lara’s Mean Moose by just a 2-1 margin going into halftime after senior Harmony Reynolds cashed in sophomore Ollyvia Howe’s 26th-minute cross in from AHS goalkeeper Emily Tibbitts’ right. 

“I was so excited for that,” said Howe, a first-year team member. “It was a learning game for everyone. And especially for me; I’ve never played soccer before, so it was fun.” 

“To get experience was our main goal when we came here,” Gullion said, “and I went from ‘Let’s get some experience’ to ‘Let’s win!’ as soon as we hit that goal in. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, there it is!’ They’ve had so much growth.” 

Senior Abby Wubben, admittedly not yet in her best soccer shape despite having ran cross-country during the fall, ended up totaling three goals as Alamosa ultimately prevailed 5-1 in a contest much closer than what the scoreboard showed. Reynolds, in fact, nearly netted a second goal for the guests but zipped a 66th-minute breakaway opportunity just wide of Tibbitts’ vulnerable framework. Wubben, meanwhile, completed her hat trick in the 70th by intercepting an IHS clearance and subsequently capitalizing. 

Freshman sister Jayden Wubben, meanwhile, scored the very first goal by knocking in senior Annahi Molina’s third-minute shot escaping the grip of Ignacio senior goalie Trinity Strohl. Molina later netted the first goal after intermission, converting an Abby Wubben pass into a 42nd-minute strike. 

But despite being decidedly out pressured, leading to the Moose owning a 6-2 edge in corner kicks and Strohl having to make (unofficially) ten true saves compared to sophomore Tibbitts’ three, the Lady ’Cats seemed content with an upbeat effort coming just days after Mother Nature finally permitted practice upon their own pitch. 

“Personally, I have a lot of expectations, especially being a senior … showing players who haven’t been playing for a long time – or this is their first time playing – how the game works, and just encouraging them,” senior defender Autumn Sage said. “I think we can achieve a lot, especially with our seniors and our juniors.” 

“Definitely,” agreed Howe. “(Gullion) wants us to support each other, and to have fun … all the new faces. I’m excited to have learned my position; that’ll bring more to the team.” 

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