Carefully attended to by Montezuma-Cortez High School training personnel with her own coach and athletic director around to assist, first-year Ignacio Lady Bobcat Santana Edd was still resting on her back some 12 minutes after an unfortunate 70th-minute collision with an M-CHS player while pursuing the ball.
With an ambulance and paramedics summoned to help with stabilizing her head and neck as a precaution for her removal from Johnson Field and transportation to Southwest Memorial Hospital for further examination, the two-man officiating crew decided it best to call the teams’ March 16 season-opening soccer match complete, with the Lady Panthers prevailing 5-0.
“Ignacio, they played very well — I saw them play last year, and they’re making steps in the right direction with their program,” said M-CHS head coach Nate Ross. “So I’m happy to see that they were able to come and give us good competition; that’s what we need. Still a lot to work on, obviously, but…I thought we played well.”
“I think that the team played really good — for the first game — as a whole,” concurred senior Britaney Hampton, whose ninth-minute volley through traffic and past IHS keeper Lanie Webb held as the match-winner.
“It was off a bounce … was just a lucky, know-where-the-ball-is and hit it with the top of your foot!”
Taking a crossing pass from junior Josie Sitton, senior Rylee Lindsley cashed Montezuma-Cortez’s second goal in the 11th, before the squad held its collective breath as senior Madi Archuleta went down in the 13th holding her right knee (she would return to action).
Another crossing pass deep into the visitors’ penalty area resulted in Lindsley striking from just outside Webb’s six-yard box in the 39th, putting M-CHS up 3-nil at intermission.
“Everyone started to realize how to play as a team and just started working off each other. And that’s what really won the game,” said Hampton.
“We had good penetrating, good balls in the corners, a lot of crossing today, and good finishing,” Ross said. “We’re looking to get a lot of those … ‘garbage goals’ is what I call them, but all those types of goals are from hard work and just being persistent and staying with the play.”
Forcing the ball deep into Ignacio’s end early in the second half, a handball violation in the 44th within the Lady Bobcats’ 18 gave the Lady Panthers a penalty kick, which Sitton converted low and to Webb’s left.
While literally not allowing a single shot on sophomore goalie Elena Cosner, and seldom allowing IHS to even cross midfield, M-CHS continued attacking and booked a fifth goal when Lindsley knocked in a short feed from sophomore Codi Archuleta at almost point-blank range in the 54th.
Unofficially, the Lady Panthers (1-0, 1-0 3A/2A Intermountain) outshot IHS (0-1, 0-1) 25-0 and put 15 tries on frame with Webb totaling 10 saves. Montezuma-Cortez also gained six corner kicks to Ignacio’s zero.
“Today we moved the ball well. I’m proud of the girls that stayed with it right there in the middle of the goal, and were able to finish,” said Ross.
“Can’t be more proud of what these girls are doing, as far as steps up in fitness, ball work, things like that,” he added. “It’s starting to pay off, and it’s always nice to see a win under your belt.”
Adjusting to life in a new league after going 3-8-2 overall, 1-8-1 in the 4A/5A Southwestern last spring, M-CHS will next host Telluride on March 28 before traveling to Alamosa on the 31st and to Center the following day.