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So close: Wolverines soccer falls to Durango JV

2-1 loss Bayfield’s fifth straight entering finale
Bayfield's Caleb Donelan, left, pushes the pace through midfield during BHS' non-league test Monday against pursuer Mavrick Rodriguez and the Durango junior varsity. DHS would win 2-1. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Fortunate to not have received a yellow card for a Monday Night Football-ish spike of the futbol on Monday, Gavin Larson and the Bayfield Wolverines unfortunately felt the swift kick of karma not even a minute later.

The protested 36th-minute ruling – or lack thereof – left the visiting Durango junior varsity with a free kick from about 25 yards out. As fate would have it, Demon sophomore Lucas Foster, son of former BHS boss Dave Foster, arced a shot perfectly over the mob scene fronting BHS goalie Gavin Davis – netting a tiebreaker goal that somehow held up through intermission and a tense, scoreless second half as the winner in a 2-1 contest.

“Yeah, he played a nice ball in, and I think their keeper was kind of blocked,” said DHS head coach Matt Clark. “And it kind of slipped in on that right side. We’re always happy to for the ball to hit the back of the net.”

“It was nice to play Bayfield – a little ‘hometown’ kind of rival – and I thought both teams played pretty well,” Clark said. “It was a fun game to coach. We usually don’t play on Mondays, the weather was nice, ... It’s always good when we play under the lights.”

Shadowed by 3A Bayfield's Zander Berriman, Wynn Hammond of the 4A Durango JV looks for an open teammate at Wolverine Country Stadium. DHS won 2-1. (Joel Priest/Special to the Herald)

Bayfield was looking to snap out of a four-match slide after a 1-0 loss to nonleague Gunnison inside Wolverine Country Stadium three days earlier.

Bayfield (5-9, 3-2 3A Southwest) struck first when Shaw Foster – no relation to the aforementioned Fosters – pursued a long Guillem “Willy” Roca ball played into Durango territory from long range. After the ball got past Lucas Foster, BHS’ junior was there for a 16th-minute strike past DHS sophomore Eli Connell to give the Wolverines a 1-0 lead.

“Our passing, the combinations – that’s what we’ve been working on all season, but we’d just had a real hard time connecting,” said Bayfield head coach Chris Zoltowski, who succeeded Dave Foster back in 2016. “I think tonight, just playing a higher-caliber team like this, I think it made them step up to that level, step up their game.”

“That (Gunnison) game ended on a bad note,” he said, referencing a disputed double overtime penalty kick awarded to and converted by the Cowboys, “and we just wanted to make sure we didn’t bring that bad energy into this game. They were uplifted, they were happy … played a great game.”

Durango freshman “Patty” Fulmer would equalize in the 25th minute. Both sides then settled in for what ended up being a relatively exciting nonleague challenge featuring multiple near-misses (a late Shaw Foster header off a Caleb Donelan corner kick being a prime example) and well-timed saves (including Connell’s 1-v-1 denial of a Roca breakaway, absorbed into his chest).

“Eli, he’s had a broken finger, and this was his first game back,” Clark said. “So we weren’t sure how well he was going to hold up, but he stood his ground and played a very good game.”

Connell unofficially totaled eight stops as the Wolverines put nine shots on goal. Davis unofficially logged seven saves on nine DHS shots-on-goal. Overall, both Bayfield and Durango unofficially let fly 13 total shots each, while the Wolverines gained five corner kicks to the Demons’ four – conceding none after halftime.

“We were talking about how well Durango possesses the ball, moves the ball, changes the point of attack, and when we had to slide in, mark up – and we did a great job with that,” Zoltowski said. “I’m really proud of them, especially our defense.”

BHS will conclude its regular-season at 4 p.m. Wednesday when it hosts hosts Alamosa.

“They have good energy right now … understanding our style of play a lot better,” said Zoltowski. “And that’s not only good for Wednesday, but great for next season as well.”

The Mean Moose stood at 2-9 and 1-4 3A Southwest before Tuesday’s game against No. 1 2A Crested Butte (13-0, 7-0 2A Intermountain.