KIRTLAND – Ethan Pierro is quicker than ever before when deflecting the ball.
The Kirtland Central goalkeeper fine-tuned his reflexes jumping up and diving low to the sides earlier in the season, and now he’s dominating in net with the matches intensifying.
“It’s kind of boring whenever you’re just standing back there the whole time. But then you get that action, it’s there and you actually make the save. It’s just the greatest feeling ever,” Pierro said. “I’m just ready to quickly move, be ready for a shot anywhere that (the ball’s) at.”
Pierro has 10 shutout victories in his last 12 matches, including four straight to end the regular season, entering the Broncos’ 4A playoff opener Saturday at Lovington.
“He gets to the side fast, he gets up quickly. He’s got all of it… When it comes time to make the save, he’s there,” coach Leonel Camacho said.
If foes manage to evade Kirtland’s back line, Pierro’s ready to neutralize them.
Whether opposing strikers are charging toward him point blank or attacking from the outer edges, Pierro’s anticipating each move coming his way.
“All the time,” said Pierro, who made the All-District 1-4A first team. “Even when the ball’s on the other side of the field, I’m still paying attention and still watching just in case anything miraculous happens. I’m ready for the ball.”
As the last month progressed, Pierro said he’s getting more stops diving to the ground against lower-velocity shots.
He’s glad to be making such saves now, given opponents will maneuver around the box more to knock in quick ones from short-range come playoff time.
“He is ready for the playoffs,” Camacho said, also mentioning Pierro’s become increasingly reliable against penalty kicks. “A lot of the weight’s going to come to him, for sure. He has really improved as far as his PKs. He’s getting across the whole face of the goal on PKs… I’ll definitely be more calm with him in goal.”
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.