It wasn’t known when it was or how long it had been taped up inside the guest’s sheltered bench area, the sign stating No. 7 is not from heaven.
But in any case, match-hosting Pagosa Springs, assuming that to be the clever culprit’s origin, feared correctly to an extent Tuesday afternoon Bayfield’s No. 7, freshman Maddy Oltmanns, who was seemingly bringing heat toward Pagosa’s goal from somewhere much warmer than Golden Peaks Stadium.
Had Pirates goalkeeper Trista Tully’s uniform apparently not doubled as a firesuit, the 3A/2A Southwestern League rivals’ outcome likely would have been a lot different with the feisty visitors emerging as the victors.
Trying to protect a deteriorating 1-0 halftime lead, Tully came up with a gutsy robbery of an Oltmanns shot in the 67th minute, then slid to smother sophomore Brooke Merchant’s close-range attempt in the 71st, then dove to her right to deny senior Sarah Ruybal’s threatening indirect kick in the 75th.
And there were other stops, too. Unquestionably the player of the match, Tully unofficially logged 13 total saves.
“We had several chances with Brooke and Maddy O., but we just kept kicking it right to the keeper. Every single time,” said BHS head coach Jen Moore. “She played a pretty good game, but we also kicked it right to her over and over.”
To be fair, had BHS goalie Jaden Cooper, who unofficially had 10 saves, been any less cool under fire, defeat would have come to the Wolverines (1-4 overall, 0-2 3A/2A SWL, 0-1 3A SWL) by a much wider margin than 2-0.
“Yeah, I don’t think we played well the first half,” Moore admitted. “They all just looked like they were out there going through the motions. If you’re out here to play, then play, you know? Don’t let them attack, attack, attack. We were constantly clearing the ball out right to them and just defending, defending, defending.
“At halftime, it really was just a discussion about heart and having passion. We talked about how to create opportunities and just to play with more heart, and they went out and did it. I thought the second half was fantastic.”
With just a little more shot accuracy to equal that intensity, Moore indicated she likes her team’s chances this Saturday on the road at Alamosa (1-5, 1-2, 1-1). Kickoff time is set for 11 a.m.
“I’m really proud with the way they played,” she said, looking at the loss to the Pirates in a greater context. “That’s the team that can make it to the playoffs and turn the season around. But we’ve got to do that the whole game, not just in a second half.
“Alamosa always gives us a tough game; they’re always physical, always play hard against us, but if we just focus on our game and do what we can, then I can’t complain. It’s when we’re not putting our best effort forward that it gets frustrating. Alamosa might have better skills or might be more physical, but it doesn’t really matter if we’re going out there controlling what we can control.”
STANDOUT TO BE SCANNED: Halle Loveday, her left shoulder still well braced, went through most of pre-match warmups in Pagosa Springs, and Moore mentioned she was to undergo an MRI exam Thursday to determine whether or not her central catalyst might salvage something of her sophomore season.
“We’re hoping it’s not so bad that, if she has to have surgery or something like that, maybe it can be after,” said Moore. “The good thing about soccer is you don’t have to use your arms a lot, but I think the biggest thing is if she falls on it, what happens then and how much damage can she really do? So, we’ve just got to wait and see. She wants to play, she’s got a brace. She’s definitely a game-changer for us, but I can’t make that decision.”