Even when remembering Coach Alisha Gullion's instructions, her Bobcats knew one self-decreed demand above all had to be met in order to at least survive, if not steal a road win last Saturday, March 24, at Ridgway.
"The girls had one rule: Protect the goalie," IHS' first-year skipper stated in a post-match text message, noting that senior RaeAnn Martinez was unavailable for what ended up being a 3A/2A Intermountain League doubleheader with the Demons.
"I gave a 10-minute overview to Chamisa (Edd) and Victoria (Riehl) on how to play goalie, and they each stepped up and played one full game," said Gullion. "The girls were exhausted. They fought hard, but I could tell those four (matches) had really taken their toll on them."
Edd was in net for a 10-0 loss and Riehl followed suit in a 9-0 setback, but the 'four' Gullion mentioned referred to the number of matches Ignacio had just completed in fewer than 24 hours.
And though Telluride also triumphed twice, Ignacio at last managed their first goal against Jose Orellana's undefeated, #4-ranked Miners.
Able to weather a wind-chilled half hour and rest up after a 10-0 mercy-rule loss, the Bobcats capitalized on a stiff tailwind with junior Lauren Gram booting what ended up being a goal from at least 35 yards out.
Though she was more likely attempting to boom the ball into space for her forwards to track down, Gram's eighth-minute kick took a high bounce over backup goalie Lindsey Osborne near the front edge of Telluride's penalty area and, getting help from a gust, accelerated into the unguarded net.
"I was just hoping the wind would help me, and it did!" Gram said with an amazed laugh.
Alarmed at having given up a score, however, THS managed to pull even less than three minutes later with Samantha Morell out-striding Edd to beat Martinez for the fifth of her eight goals on the day. earing a field player's jersey, Shaver then gave the Miners a 2-1 lead in the 19th minute by slipping a shot low to Martinez's right and into the near-side corner.
Four more goals followed before halftime, and Telluride's Nikki Borland secured an 11-1 win with a goal in the 66th. Still, the energy returning to the home-side bench was high and Ignacio (0-8, 0-8 IML) began looking ahead to the 2018 season's first road matches the next day.
"It was crazy," Gullion said, after the losses at Ridgway. Edd and Riehl "made some awesome saves, but you could tell they were super-nervous because of the lack of experience."
"Played hard, played aggressively, and we fought for that ball," declared Gram. "I'm proud of my team!"
"And there were no hung heads on the way home," Gullion noted.
IHS will next see action at 4 p.m. Friday, April 6, in Gunnison against Crested Butte. The Lady 'Cats will then travel south into the San Luis Valley the next morning to face Center in a much-anticipated doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m.