Alisha Gullion admitted Wednesday evening that though anticipation of Friday’s season-finale against Del Norte is up – understandable considering Ignacio’s energetic effort against the Tigers ending 2018 – the focus hasn’t been.
At least, not as elevated as the boss would prefer it to be.
“You know, to be completely honest, the girls have been kind of silly in practice,” she said. “I think that before we took on Center it was like, let’s bring home a win on our field in front of our fans,and just leave it all on the field. What comes next, comes next, that was kind of the mentality.
“The girls are having fun, but they’re ready to take on Del Norte for their last game and give it all they’ve got.”
Ignacio’s 2019 soccer campaign will conclude Friday win, lose or draw. IHS will face Del Norte in Alamosa because of construction on Del Norte’s campus. Kickoff Friday is set for 11 a.m.
The Bobcats have mostly fulfilled the promise shown in last May’s 8-3 loss at Del Norte. With two wins under their belt in a single season for the first time since 2010, IHS will lose only senior Briana Duran to upcoming graduation.
“The main thing is growth and experience,” said Gullion, whose squad will go into the 3A/2A Southwestern League match standing 2-7 against the loop’s 2A sides, 2-12 against the full circuit and 2-12 overall after last Saturday’s 6-0 home loss to 3A Alamosa. “We had a handful of new girls, a handful of returners, but it doesn’t matter; it seems like every one of my girls has just grown immensely since the very start of the season. And they’ve learned a lot.”
Alamosa’s coach noticed a difference in Ignacio during last weekend’s game.
“Nothing was given to us,” Mean Moose head coach Cheyenne Sinn stated before leaving IHS Field. “We really had to work for our goals. Their keeper (Jaylene Riepel) really helped keep them in it.”
Under skipper Russell Randolph, numerically-superior Del Norte will step onto the pitch 5-2-2 in the 2A SWL, 8-3-2 against all league opposition and 9-3-2 overall, with motivation to earn their own seniors another win as well as avoid any sort of collapse witnessed during the final 15 minutes of last spring’s high-scoring battle.
“I think that we’ll end on a good note,” Gullion said. “I think no matter what, just like Ignacio does, we’ll suit up out there and give it everything we’ve got. And I’ll be proud of their performance either way.”