Expending all their remaining energy to avoid the dreaded 10-goal "mercy rule" fate Tuesday afternoon, Ignacio still had just enough left to put everyone - visiting Pagosa Springs in particular - at IHS Field on pins and needles as the 80th and last regulation minute began ticking away.
Having seen teammate Abbi Barthel's 54th-minute rush towards Pirate Hailey Griego halted by an offsides violation, Caitlyn Chapman made sure to let a well-placed ball briefly roll into space ahead of her and going 1-v-1 with Pagosa's goalie.
The play didn't work, however, and the 3A/2A Intermountain League match concluded after a few seconds of added stoppage time, with PSHS winning 8-0.
Coach Alisha Gullion was proud of the pressure her team managed to apply in keeping the guests off the scoreboard after intermission.
"We're such a second-half team," said the first-year leader, a former Ignacio assistant whos is taking over for Daniel Sanchez. "It's like they come out, get some nerves at the beginning, and have to figure out what they're doing. And then they look at it like, 'OK, this is what we need to work on,' and they go and do it."
"It's awesome, and if we can just get that same intensity and that same thinking in the first half, man.."
Or at least the opening 10 minutes.
Pagosa Springs senior Alyssa Lewis scored unassisted in the ninth, and senior Alanah Gallegos quickly tacked on an insurance goal in the 10th minute. Freshman Nicole Bartz then struck in the 13th for a 3-nil advantage against goalie RaeAnn Martinez, who only played better as the action progressed.
"She's funny," said Gullion. "I asked her, 'Hey do you want to play goalie this year?' And she's like, 'Yeah I really, really want to play - haven't played for a couple years!' I'm like, 'Oh I'm sure we can get you warmed up,' and then she comes in the first game, cracks her knuckles, and saves, like, 15 balls!"
Martinez saved almost 20 attempts by Pirates (1-3, 1-1 IML), who also got goals from freshman Jillian Jolley in the 19th minute, freshman Samaya Dunn de Pulido-off a perfect Lewis cross-in the 23rd, and another from Gallegos in the 32nd.
Junior Morgan Thompson then hurried Ignacio defender Autumn Smith into a clearance attempt which, instead of going over the end line to surrender a corner kick to PSHS, went directly past a surprised Martinez for an own-goal in the 33rd. Thompson then capped off the first half with a goal just before the 40th minute expired.
"We have a pretty young team this year, but the newer girls have come out here - a lot have never even played soccer - and they're like, 'I'm going to try it!'" Gullion stated. "And they're doing great because they're fighting; every single girl that's out here, they fight hard."
Up next, Ignacio (0-4, 0-4) will host Telluride (3-0, 2-0) for a doubleheader this Friday, March 23, beginning at 1 p.m., then head north to Ridgway for an 11 a.m. rumble the next morning.
"We play a lot of really good teams, but we're becoming a good team. The more that we fight, keep our heads up and let the score roll off our backs," said Gullion. "That's all that matters. And I know it's going to be rough, but these girls are tough and I think they're going to fight through."
Repaying both Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs St. Mary's for their respective Friday/Saturday visits to Wolverine Country Stadium last spring, Bayfield traveled east to challenge the vaunted Tri-Peaks League powers last weekend in their most recent outings.
After falling 5-0 to the Mustangs Friday, March 16, the Wolverines went down to St. Mary's by the same margin-leaving them 2-2 overall (2-0 IML) prior to a March 24 visit from Crested Butte Community School.
So far this spring, six different players have found the back of the net for BHS, led by senior Savannah Kaufmann's four goals. Seniors Sophie Turner and Misty Helton, along with freshman Halle Loveday, have each scored two, and freshman Madi McInroy and sophomore Malaree Matlock have one apiece.