Soccer Sports

Crazy ‘Eights’

Photo Credit: Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

Pagosa duels depleted Ignacio on their ‘turf 

Her first scoring opportunity Friday afternoon, April 26, smothered by opposing goalkeeper Keira Davis, Ignacio senior Darlyn Mendoza-Lechuga seemed not to worry; she’d have more than just one chance. And she could thank Pagosa Springs head coach Trevor Gian and his players for a later, converted opportunity. 

For without the Lady Pirates’ willingness to play not one or two, but three players down in order to match up evenly with Tori Burch’s hurting Lady Bobcats, down to just nine in number (senior Zoey Ashley, however, was benched as a precaution after taking a boot to the head in the previous afternoon’s practice), there would have been no match inside Golden Peaks Stadium. 

No well-placed ball into space by freshman Lainee Bradley. 

No Mendoza-Lechuga run – begun from nearly two unseen, offside (neither skipper really disputed any of the sole referee’s rulings, knowing he couldn’t really spot every play and/or player) strides behind PSHS’ defenders – onto the ball. 

And no celebration after avoiding a shutout loss despite having only seven field players (plus besieged sophomore goalie Bella Lorenzini) for all but two minutes of stoppage time following Mendoza-Lechuga’s 40th-minute goal – bringing IHS back to 9-1 in an eventual 11-1 non-league road loss. 

Hustled out to Archuleta County by her mother after interviewing for a potential college scholarship, senior Willow Schulz became the guests’ ninth player on the pitch, meaning Pagosa Springs (5-4-2 overall, 0-3-2 3A Southwestern) could also send out a ninth, but ended up IHS’ eighth as senior Jillian Middlebrook wracked an ankle and couldn’t continue after halftime. 

Back down to a balancing eight themselves, the Lady Pirates went up 10-1 when junior Hailey Sams scored in the 47th minute, and after Schulz’s less-injured right knee suddenly gave out in the 54th, requiring her removal, PSHS enacted the ten-goal mercy rule in the 55th as freshman Ximena Garcia first intercepted a Lorenzini goal kick, then watched as her subsequent shot clanged off Lorenzini’s near post and briefly paralleled the goal line before wobbling just far enough behind it to register. 

Coincidentally, Mendoza-Lechuga had unsuccessfully clanged a 38th-minute try off the same post, before the sides – truly testing their conditioning upon less-congested ground – swapped sides after intermission…after Ignacio (1-10-0 overall, 1-3-0 2A Intermountain-South) ensured that there’d even be one. 

Substituted in for Davis late in the first half, and charged with Mendoza-Lechuga’s goal against, junior Elizabeth Currier scored twice (including on an immediate counterstrike seconds after Davis’ aforementioned ninth-minute denial of Mendoza-Lechuga) in the victory. Garcia – who’d converted an assist from senior Lauren Monterroso into the contest’s third-minute icebreaker – totaled four goals after having also scored in the 10th and 12th minutes. 

Monterroso, who’d hit a post with an eighth-minute attempt, increased PSHS’ early lead to 6-0 in only the 16th minute, and freshman Tatiana Monterroso scored in the 21st off a mishandled Lorenzini save – giving the Lady Pirates a 7-0 cushion at the first of the match’s two planned hydration breaks. 

Pagosa Springs was to next wrap up SWL work at 11 a.m. the next morning at Montezuma-Cortez (3-5-2, 1-2-2), and will then host Del Norte (1-10-0, 0-3-0 2A Intermountain-South) on the 30th at 4 p.m. Ignacio, meanwhile, was to resume their own league work on the 30th with a doubleheader at Telluride, but Burch indicated that would likely be forfeited in hopes of healing up enough players to visit 3A Bayfield on Thursday, May 2. 

The Lady Bobcats’ 2024 season finale at Crested Butte, also potentially in jeopardy, is presently scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, May 4, and is to be played in Gunnison at Western Colorado University’s Katy O. Rady Field. 

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