Hayley Mitchell may have netted the only goal Tuesday afternoon, but she was quick to recognize Pagosa Springs' ultimate hero: Goalkeeper Diana Scott.
"Absolutely amazing," said the Pirate senior. "She was definitely Player-of-the-Game. Without her, I don't think we would have won."
Persistence paid off for the Wolverine Country Stadium visitors late in the first half, and it nearly paid off even more for the home side late in the second.
And in most cases it was either going to be Scott or Bayfield's Savannah Kaufmann.
Led deep into Springs' penalty area by a great Taylor Morris pass, Kaufmann's low attempt in the 74th ended up in Scott's hands, but then slipped free. With the fans roaring, she somehow gained control before Kaufmann could pounce again, but less than a minute later she was forced to make another clutch scoop to deny Kaufmann at almost point-blank range.
Kaufmann again brought the heat in the 76th, but Scott managed a sliding stop and clearance.
"Our problem was connecting the passes and getting the ball where we wanted it to go," Kaufmann said, addressing the difference in the Wolverines' first-half and second-half work. "It was either the ball was too short or the ball was too long, trying to get on either end of it. But I think we played a lot better the second half than we did the first, and especially the last 10 minutes!"
"Towards the end of the second half you could tell we didn't have as much endurance; we're not in shape yet," admitted Mitchell. "And that's why we lost communication; we were breathing hard, not talking very well."
Working towards a pair of ice bags on one leg after the 3A/2A Intermountain League match, Kaufmann tried a crossing pass to Peri Milner in the 79th, but the ball drizzled away before the sophomore could one-time it on net. Finally, late in stoppage time a la Mitchell, Morris managed an on-target blast in the 81st but Scott snared it and made sure her grip was secure.
Unofficially she totaled 12 saves, nine coming after intermission. Millard managed as many, but with nine coming before intermission to again indicate the flow and direction of the battle.
"I thought we did really well, for the second match," BHS junior Sophie Turner said. "Our first game, Center kind of warmed us up a little bit, but it was like nothing compared to Pagosa. We have a lot of new girls out here, and I think we did really well with our hustle game. We just need to get our skills down."
"These next few weeks, our defense is going to need a lot of structure, and our offense, once we get to the goal, we usually have a lot of success," said Kaufmann, who scored four times in Bayfield's 7-1 season-opening home win (in which Turner scored once and senior Makenna Cowan twice) over CHS last Saturday. "It's all the in-between factors that we need, especially with teams we're not really familiar with - Manitou Springs - and we're going to try to win before coming back into league. We definitely need to work hard."
Up next for the Wolverines (1-1, 1-1 IML) will be a 4 p.m. kickoff Friday versus Manitou Springs. A semi-frequent foe of Bayfield's in postseasons past, the regular-season encounter will see the Mustangs-who reached the 3A State Playoffs "Sweet 16" round last year coming to town 1-0 overall following an 8-0 rout of 4A Woodland Park Tuesday afternoon.
The weekend only gets tougher with St. Mary's in town from Colorado Springs for an 11 a.m. start on Saturday. St. Mary's also qualified for State last spring but, like BHS, fell in the opening Round-of-24.
"I think it's really good for us to play these harder teams," Turner said. "Like, our league, it's not as hard as when we go to playoffs, so it's really helpful for us if we go. And I hope we go, so.let's get ready for it!"