Pirates rebound with soccer win

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Disappointment showed in the faces of Englewood’s players and coaches after an April 19 soccer loss to Elizabeth, but the Pirates put it behind them the next day and defeated Fort Morgan 3-1.

“We expected to win the game with Elizabeth but they took advantage of our mistakes,” Pirates coach Bill Gilmore said after the Elizabeth game. “After the loss, I told the girls we still had four games to play and still had a chance to make the playoffs, so they needed to focus on the Fort Morgan game, and they did.”

The Pirates come into the week with an 8-2 overall record and they are 2-2 in league, which puts them the middle of the Colorado 7 girls soccer standings.

However, the remaining schedule consists of four league games, and the outcome of those games will determine where they finish in the standings.

On April 23, the Pirates were at Aurora Public Schools Stadium against Vista Peak, and on April 25 they travel to Weld Central. The Pirates play their final regular season home game April 30 against Fort Morgan and close out the schedule May 2 with an on-the-road rematch with Elizabeth.

“I knew it would be a shootout against Elizabeth but I never expected us to give up eight goals,” Gilmore said. “This loss means we are no longer in control of our own destiny as far as the playoffs go. If we don’t finish in the top two we don’t get an automatic bid. Right now we aren’t first or second in league, so we just have to focus on winning our remaining games and see what happens when they draw up the state playoff bracket.”

There will be 32 teams in the Class 4A state playoffs. Automatic bids to top league finishers could total 24. The remaining spots in the bracket will be at-large spots that will be filled by the tournament seeding committee.

The Englewood-Elizabeth game was a hard-fought, physical battle. The Pirates made a bid for a comeback as Elijah Daughtry scored a pair of goals in the closing four minutes of the game, but it wasn’t enough, as the Cardinals won, 8-6.

It apparently was a different story April 20 in Fort Morgan as the Pirates controlled the tempo of play the whole game.

According to Fort Morgan statistics, their goalie had to make 25 saves, but the Pirates still put three shots in the net to win the game, 3-1. Julia Kline, Lucy Yaklich and Daughtry each had a goal for Englewood.

Pirates goalie Cassidy Cox played a good game and made six saves.

This is the first year Pirate defender Maddie Smith has played soccer. She said she wanted to stay active, and in the spring it was either soccer or track and, since she isn’t a runner, she chose soccer.

“I’ve always wanted to play soccer, I decided why not and I joined the team this year. I found soccer is a lot of fun but it also was harder than I expected to be able to play well,” she said. “In particular, I found learning the eye-foot coordination to be able to handle the ball well was harder to master than I thought it would be. I am a catcher for the softball team and I play basketball, so it has been hard to overcome the habit of reaching up to catch the ball with my hands.”

Smith said her play as a soccer player has improved at least 100 percent since the start of the season.

“I was a real rookie when I started. The coaches and my teammates worked with me to help me improve. Now I find my speed and quickness are better and my ability to know where to be as a defender when the other team is coming up the field has improved tons. I also feel, when I have the ball, I know a lot more about where I need to put it to help our team push up the field,” she said. “I am a defender and I really like that position because I enjoy being physical and I get the chance as a defender.”

She said her goal for the remaining games is to keep improving and stay strong as a defender to do all she can to help her team win.