Earlier this season, inclement weather tried disrupting Bayfield High’s girls soccer team routine in the days before their home opener.
“That was kind of frustrating, you know?” head coach Jen Moore said at the time. “But we make do with what we’ve got to prepare for a big game, try to still turn our season around.”
With 3A Southwestern Leaguers Montezuma-Cortez and Alamosa both slated to invade Wolverine Country Stadium this weekend, Moore’s comment could have been just as likely to refer to Tuesday’s tuneup against Center.
The outcome was never in doubt against the 2A Vikings, numbering only the minimum 11 and offering little resistance against the Wolverines, who were happy to have sophomore Halle Loveday in her second game back from a shoulder injury and sophomore Gianna Gallegos back in her second from an ankle injury which had required a protective boot.
“I feel like Alamosa really upped my confidence; I was so worried about playing after one practice after not having played for a month,” Loveday said, alluding to BHS’ 2-0 win last Saturday at Alamosa. “But I did a lot better than I expected, and that was a bit of a self-esteem booster. And then this game was just kind of a ribbon on top.”
Their return was a welcome sight to their teammates, too.
“We need Halle and Gianna; they’re big assets to our team,” said freshman Emaliah Sawyer. “And our main objective was to get ready for the upcoming games against harder, more aggressive teams.”
Passing around and through Center’s defense almost at will, Bayfield took an 8-0 lead into halftime and prevailed 10-0 after junior Tayler Ludwig zipped a 69th-minute shot past keeper Priscila Zapata. Freshman Maddy Oltmanns netted what proved to be the match-winner in the seventh, Loveday followed with a successful penalty kick in the 14th and then served up a perfect corner kick in the 20th, which Oltmanns headed home, highlight-style.
“When we stretch, we always tell our goals to each other,” Loveday said. “And my goal was to get an assist off a corner; I was so happy when Mo scored that because she’s so good and she deserved it, too.”
Sawyer would then score in the 21st off a Ludwig pass and later booked BHS’ eighth of the half via another Ludwig set-up in the 39th. Having already converted a Zapata-deflected Brooke Merchant shot in the 33rd, sophomore Madison Wells cashed an ideal Peri Milner corner in the 44th for the Wolverines’ initial strike after intermission, and the 3A/2A Southwestern League match would conclude with Bayfield’s players trying to score within a hasty, humorous one-minute crunch time declared by Moore, ready to substitute in at least a half-dozen willing players.
Senior Caibri Schaefer and freshman Mattie Moore each scored once as well versus Center (0-8), indicating depth which will benefit BHS (3-4, 2-2, 1-1 3A SWL) well against M-CHS at 4 p.m. Friday and Alamosa (1-7, 1-4, 1-2) at 11 a.m. Saturday. “I’m nervous about it,” said Sawyer.
“But I think we’ve got it, all in all. We’re just going to try to talk as a team and work together. I think we’ll pull out a win.” Put in a postseason context, two would be even better.