Girls’ Soccer struggles at M-CHS

Pursued by Montezuma-Cortez’s Jordi Mahler (30), Ignacio’s Autumn Sage (23) races after the ball Saturday, April 15, at M-CHS. The Lady Bobcats fell 6-1 on the road.
Ignacio’s Ollyvia Howe (17) hops ahead of Bayfield’s Tanna Owens (18) to take possession of the ball during the teams’ showdown Tuesday, April 11, at BHS. The Lady Bobcats battled well in a 4-2 defeat.
Ignacio’s Harmony Reynolds (15) receives congratulations from Laci Brunson (11) after scoring a first-half goal Tuesday, April 11, at Bayfield. Brunson would score during the second half, but the Lady Bobcats fell 4-2.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Slow start costly in IHS’ 6-1 loss

Not one to truly blow a gasket, even as a motivational tactic in the heat of battle, Ignacio Girls’ Soccer head coach Alisha Gullion admitted she’d shocked herself with how fiery her halftime talk Saturday afternoon, April 15, to her team ended up being.

Hoping to see the sort of improved movement and energy which had helped the Lady Bobcats hound 3A Bayfield in a 4-2 road loss on the 11th, the skipper effectively informed her squad she hadn’t yet seen anything close as match-hosting Montezuma-Cortez sat on a comfortable 5-0 cushion at intermission.

“They’re kind of used to counting themselves out before we even start playing,” she had said after IHS fell to BHS, but appeared to exit Wolverine Country Stadium with a sense of capability renewed by seniors Harmony Reynolds and Laci Brunson scoring one goal apiece, plus senior goalkeeper Trinity Strohl racking up 18 saves. “I know that they get in their heads sometimes, like, ‘Oh … we know how it’s going to go,’ but … we can compete with these teams. We are competitive!”

And despite lacking both Brunson and junior Darlyn Mendoza-Lechuga in Ignacio’s second meeting with M-CHS, the Lady ’Cats backed up the boss’ claim almost immediately in the second half.

After being out-shot by an unofficial 16-1 margin (12-1 in shots-on-goal) before the break, IHS at last broke through when Reynolds gained possession near the scorer’s table at midfield, sped along the sideline all the way into striking range, and then put IHS’ first second-half try past Montezuma-Cortez goalie Aubrey Rutherford in the 43rd minute.

Just two minutes later, however, the thrill was gone.

Rather than known playmakers Jordi Mahler, Sophia Shepard or Anna Jenson, M-CHS junior Janae Boyd led a rush deep into the offensive end and drew Strohl far off her line. Strohl managed to deflect the ball before it really became a shot, but the ball skittered away to her left and M-CHS senior Carlie McClellan booted it into an unguarded net for the locals’ sixth goal.

Shepard had gotten the scoring started with goals in the sixth and tenth minutes. Mahler then marked in the 17th, 22nd (via a penalty kick awarded after a foul called against Lady ’Cat Jillian Middlebrook) and 27th minutes for a hat trick, with Shepard assisting on Mahler’s first goal and Jenson her third.

And though no more offensive highlights came for Ignacio (0-6 overall, 0-2 2A Intermountain-South), the Lady Bobcats left on something of an upbeat note following Strohl’s diving denial of a Lady Panther’s likely 78th-minute goal.

Unofficially, she saved ten of M-CHS’ 16 shots-on-goal; Rutherford stopped three of IHS’ four. The Lady Panthers (4-3, 2-0 3A Southwestern) also gained seven corner kicks to the Lady Bobcats’ three in the non-league clash.

Looking ahead, Ignacio will resume league play Friday, April 21, at Ridgway. Results from M-CHS’ visit on the 20th, completing a 2023 trilogy, were unavailable at press time, as were those from IHS’ 4/18 trip to Pagosa Springs (1-6, 0-3 3A SWL). The Lady Pirates had logged their first win – a 10-0 rout of 2A Lake County up in Leadville – just five days before.

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