Last September before exiting Wolverine Country Stadium on the better side of a 3-2 outcome, Alamosa head coach Cheyenne Sinn indicated she wasn’t surprised at such a close score, even against ultra-young Bayfield.
“They’ve definitely got some potential,” she said. “Their key players, once they start possessing the ball, they possess very well. I think they’ll definitely build in the next few years.”
The growth of the Wolverines was evident last Saturday, as defending Class 2A state champion Crested Butte could only manage three goals as opposed to eight in the teams’ late-August season-opener.
Positive thinking will again have to surface at noon Saturday when Bayfield hosts Alamosa in a vital contest between members of the 3A/2A Southwestern’s 3A half, after a prime opportunity for victory Tuesday escaped BHS in Pagosa Springs.
Eager to face the Pirates, BHS quickly found themselves a step slow in defending diagonal runs and overlaps executed by the confident tandem of senior Will Villalobos and junior E.J. Monterroso, with the latter setting up the former’s third-minute goal and Villalobos repaying the favor two minutes later with a perfect through ball Monterroso motored through the heart of the pitch and past goalie Quintan Hunter.
Monterroso then converted a Jordan Heaton assist for a 3-nil lead in just the 11th minute, leaving the Wolverines in desperate need of stabilization, which thankfully occurred during the next 20 minutes and culminated with sophomore Tristan French’s 32nd-minute rush at PSHS goalie Gabe Gallegos.
Able to get a shot on target, Gallegos managed to make a rolling save but couldn’t control the ball, which continued skidding away to his right and onto Wolverine Silas Wilbourn’s foot. But even with an empty net directly before him, the eager freshman pushed his shot wide of Gallegos’ back post.
Though potentially crippling, Pagosa Springs failed to capitalize on the miss before intermission. Villalobos rang a header off the crossbar shortly before the whistle. Bayfield managed to regroup, getting an Aimar Ozcariz-Frances goal early in the second half and ending the match with several strong tries from outside the Pirates’ box.
Most sailed high over Gallegos, but junior Brayden Thayer, set up by a Dylan Pickering pass, didn’t miss a header on net by much in the 52nd. He also zipped a hurried try just wide of the upper corner to Gallegos’ left in the 74th, and shortly after the restart of play, senior Larenz Wilbourn blasted a 35-yarder just over the frame.
But before bowing by a 5-1 margin finalized by a Villalobos breakaway in the 78th, flashes of the team-first determination displayed against Crested Butte was beginning to show.
BHS actually gained five corners to the Pirates’ three and put six second-half shots on target (after logging just one during the first half) compared to PSHS’ nine – definite pluses to build upon in preparation for the Mean Moose, who stand 2-5 overall, 2-2 against the full SWL and 2-0 against its 3A crews going into their match Friday at Montezuma-Cortez.
Unluckily for Bayfield (0-6, 0-5, 0-1), both of Alamosa’s 3A-level league wins have come against Pagosa Springs, and by an aggregate 4-2 count.