In a game that was defined by vast differences between its two halves, the Montezuma-Cortez High School soccer team lost to Pagosa Springs, 3-1, at home on Oct. 17.
The game began on a high note for the Panthers thanks to inspiring play from sophomore Alden Adams, who delivered consistent pressure from his right-back position throughout the opening minutes of the game.
Again caught on their heels in the game’s 15th minute, Pagosa Springs defenders watched as a long pass from senior Trey Yarbrough soared through the air and found the feet of Adams, who collected the ball on the far right side of the box and scored from a difficult angle.
“(The angle) was there, and I shot (the ball), and it went off a defender,” Adams said.
“(The goal) was well earned, but it wasn’t totally clean.”
Invigorated by Adams’ goal, M-CHS continued to apply pressure throughout the first half and nearly scored in the 27th minute when Parker Bell intercepted a kick by Pagosa Springs’ goalie and fired a long shot just over the upper right corner of the net.
While the Panthers’ offense hummed, the home team’s defense consistently stymied Pagosa Springs’ attack thanks to the strong play of Yarbrough, Kailen Carlson, and Shawn Higgins along the M-CHS back line.
A leaping save by M-CHS goalie Teagan Whiteskunk on a long shot by Pagosa Springs forward Jason Monterroso in the 32nd minute kept the game tied, and after Pirates midfielder Liam Doctor narrowly missed with a header in the 36th minute, M-CHS entered the halftime break with a 1-goal lead.
Momentum began to swing early in the second half, however, as Pagosa Springs began dominating possession in its own offensive zone.
The first Pirates goal came in the 59th minute when Edwin Monterroso dribbled through the M-CHS defense and scored. Two minutes later, teammate Jason Monterroso dribbled unabated down the left side and fired a hard left-footed shot past Whiteskunk to give Pagosa Springs a 2-1 lead.
The Pirates final goal came in the 77th minute when a crossing pass from Edwin Monterroso found the foot of William Villalobos, who collected himself and fired a soft shot into an open net.
Asked about his team’s performance, M-CHS assistant coach Andrew Cuckie praised his team’s play during the first 40 minutes before noting that things fell apart during the second half.
“It was a tale of two halves,” Cuckie said. “In the first half, we had some really nice offensive generation that started with us doing the fundamental things right. In the second half, we let Pagosa Springs take it to us, and they out-hustled us.
“Unfortunately, we had a couple of mistakes that they punished us on.”
Now 0-12-1 on the season, M-CHS will close out its year with a road match against Crested Butte on Oct. 21.