Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
The undefeated Bayfield High School girls soccer team had lots of time to work on its possession game Tuesday.
The Wolverines scored 10 unanswered goals intermixed with plenty of passes as they rounded out the Pine River rivalry redux with a second victory over the Ignacio Bobcats.
“We really communicated and passed the ball well,” said Bayfield senior striker Keenan Moreta, who tallied her third consecutive hat trick to lead the Wolverines in scoring.
Moreta kicked off the blowout nine minutes into play on an assist from Effie Nistler, sliding the ball past Bobcats goalkeeper Nicole Williams.
Moreta scored the prettiest goal of the day halfway through the first half. Nistler headed the ball on from near midfield to the charging Moreta, who forced Williams to commit to a dive left, then edged the ball into the right corner with the outside of her foot.
Moreta scored the final goal of the game on a breakaway poke in second half stoppage time to end the game by mercy rule.
Against three different Ignacio keepers, Sanna Penton added two for the Wolverines, as did Grace Harvey and freshman Meagan Mooney, and Nistler scored a single goal.
Williams started in the Ignacio goal, making 14 saves in the first half before she was hurt in a tangle with Mooney on her hard- charging first goal.
Shannon Mestas took over for the final minutes of the first half, allowing two goals before the break, leaving the Wolverines with a 6-0 lead at halftime.
After the half, Amya Bison took over between the posts as the Wolverines’ attack slowed down.
BHS head coach Jen Zelinski told the girls during halftime to work on their possession skills since the game was well in hand. They weren’t allowed to shoot until they’d made five passes. The result was “phenomenal,” the former Fort Lewis College women’s soccer player said.
“Knowing they can possess the ball like they are improves their confidence,” Zelinski said. “That’s going to come in handy when we’re playing at state.”
The back-and-forth, “everyone gets a touch” passing – as Moreta called it – was frustrating for IHS head coach Andrew Fenity’s girls, who haven’t come up against a possession offense yet this season, even in the two team’s first matchup in Ignacio earlier this season, which Bayfield won 8-0.
The Wolverines’ possession game was so dominant the Bobcats only managed to clear the ball to the Bayfield side of the pitch a handful of times. Ignacio didn’t get a single shot off.
“Bayfield’s gotten much, much better. They played a very tight game,” Fenity said.
If the possession game translated into frustration, it didn’t translate into immediate goals.
Bison saved 10 shots, and the Wolverines went more than 20 minutes before scoring in the second half. Bayfield scored its final four goals in the final 20 minutes.
Quick scoring wasn’t the point, though, Moreta said.
“We just work on our possession, work on everything we need to improve on,” she said.
Bayfield (9-0) – ranked 11th in Class 3A Colorado by The Denver Post – will host Intermountain League rival Alamosa at 1 p.m. Saturday at Wolverine Country Stadium.
Zelinski said she hopes the girls will take some extra confidence away from the possession practice against the Bobcats. She said the Wolverines need to strike a balance between confidence and arrogance if they are to continue their undefeated streak.
Bayfield won its last meeting with the Mean Moose by shutout, 5-0.