MONTROSE— The Montrose High School boys soccer team kicked off their Southwestern League play with weekend games against Durango and Cortez at home. Montrose battled for a hard fought 2-2 tie on Friday evening against Durango, then came back Saturday morning for a rollover 8-0 win against Cortez.
The Indians started the match against Durango amid a flurry of rainstorms Friday evening, for their first home game of the season. The Demons came out strong and aggressive right from the kick-off, but the Indians were quick to adjust by playing possession soccer.
The Indians created numerous opportunities in front of the goal at the start of the game with their possessive play. Senior captain Zach Nadiak was able to take several good shots with the Durango keeper out of position but the Demons defense was able to cover. The score remained 0-0 until the deep into the first half when Durango was awarded a free kick at midfield. The Demons launched the ball to the 18 yard box and got a shot pasty the Montrose defense for the first score.
“The score they [Durango] got in was a mental error on our part. We were upset about the call and did not defend,” Montrose head coach Jim Pavlich said.
After the half, the Indians came out strong despite being down 1-0. Junior Cade English took a pass from senior Hector Almanza off the wing to score after only two minutes into the second half to equalize the game.
“They [Durango] had a defensive error and we capitalized on it,” Pavlich said.
At the 62 minute mark Montrose took the lead when Almanza broke away at the 18 yard box and rocketed a shot off the pass from sophomore Vijay Singh to score the Indians second goal of the evening.
The team held the lead until the 71st minute when Durango scored on a through ball from the corner. The Indians defense got caught with a double-team defense in the corner, leaving the middle open giving the Durango striker a straight on shot for the goal.
A 30 minute lightning delay followed the Durango goal. Then the teams returned to the field to play the remainder of regulation time, ending in a tie. Neither team was able to score during the two ten-minute overtimes, ending the game in a 2-2 tie.
According to Pavlich both teams played evenly with similar amount of ball position, fouls and shots, with Durango having an 15-13 edge on shots on goal. Pavlich was impressed by the Demon’s keeper who made several critical save. Montrose keeper Jorge Rojas was credited with making great plays in the box by Pavlich, as well.
“We just need to hold our leads, it is something we need to work on,” Pavlich said.
The weather did not clear up for the game against Cortez on Saturday morning, with rain showers throughout the game. It did not slow the Indians attack against the Cortez Panthers.
Two minutes into the game senior Sam Estrada scored off a pass from Almanza. After the initial goal the Indians were able to score at regular intervals, racking up seven goals by half time. Almanza got a hattrick with three goals in the first half, with junior Dakota Pizzarusso scoring two, and sophomore Saul Perez picking up the seventh goal. The Indians offense scorers were also credited with the assists for their teammates.
In the second half the Indians came out and slowed down their pace, playing control soccer. Senior Austin Hastings converted a cross kick from junior Brian Mayo in the 49th minute, for the eighth goal. “[The game was] a chance to work out the entire roster, and a time to work on possession. Both teams played honorably,” Pavlich said.
Pavlich was impressed with everyone in both games. He was proud of his midfield and defense especially. But Pavlich felt the games showed the team needs to work on collectively playing defense.
The Indians record is now 4-0-3. With the tie Montrose and Durango are even in the Southwestern League play.
“It would have been nicer to soundly defeat them [Durango] but it keeps the Southwestern League title as a race,” Pavlich said.