One thing went well for the Durango High School girls lacrosse team Saturday.
“The result,” DHS head coach Jenni Darlow said. “Not a lot more than the result.”
The Demons won their sloppy, broken-down rematch of Friday night’s 15-1 blowout by half that margin, 8-1, against the Steamboat Springs Sailors at a hot and sunny DHS Stadium.
The passing wasn’t on target and neither were many of the catches or shots. The transition game was wanting as off-target passes disrupted most of the offensive flow and resulted in a back-and-forth game played largely by sprinting after groundballs in the midfield.
The defense had more than its share of breakdowns, too.
Still, “we got the result that we wanted, maybe not in the way we wanted,” Darlow said.
And that result was guarded by the second thing that went well for the Demons: Alyssa Spencer’s goalkeeping. Spencer made seven saves on the day, including a couple of sharp, fast-reflex blocks.
“Oh, just a couple?” said Spencer, the Fort Lewis College signee.
Alright, maybe a few more.
Although the Sailors struggled to put together a coherent passing attack, Durango’s frequent overcommitments on defense did give Steamboat Springs a number of fast-break opportunities.
The Sailors’ Nastassija Voyich scored first on a low, point-blank shot 2:30 into the first half.
Spencer wouldn’t let in another one. She made back-to-back point-blank saves in the waning minutes of the first frame, one with her stick before blocking the rebound shot with her body to preserve the Demons’ fragile two-goal lead.
“Alyssa is a phenomenal keeper that makes saves most goalies won’t,” Darlow said. “Even with defensive breakdowns, we still have a good chance of stopping their shot.”
Darlow said Spencer really is active in goal, and Spencer said the stress of the Sailors’ charges and in-your-crease attack kept her sharp.
“I do particularly well under high-pressure situations,” said Spencer, daughter of Rhoda Schoonover. “I have to stay calm because the result would probably be different.”
With Spencer guarding the net, the Demons tied the game 1-all when Tymbree Hawkins waded through traffic and bounced one past the Sailors’ keeper with 21:34 left in the first half.
Ruthie Edd scored the go-ahead goal 20 seconds later, barrelling at the goal off a quick pass from Alyssa Montoya.
“Darlow always tells us, if we have the fast break, take it,” said Edd, who was one of four girls who scored all eight of the Demons’ goals on 25 total shots.
She scored to go up 7-1 on a long “beautiful assist” from Jessie Ransford in left field that found Edd high center in front of the goal. Edd beat the goalie high with a flick.
“It’s not just fast breaks, it’s actual skill on the offense to do it (like that), so it’s always kind of nice when those goals come up,” said Edd, daughter of Don Edd and Esther Belin.
Ransford also scored two goals, as did Hawkins and Montoya.
The Sailors made nine saves.
Winning by doing one or two things right might be possible against a team like Steamboat Springs, but it won’t cut it against the Mountain League-leading Aspen Skiers next weekend, Darlow said.
“There was tons of stuff that we need to fix,” she said.
Passing takes top priority, as does making sure those defensive breakdowns don’t do the Demons (7-1, 7-1 Mountain League) in.
Darlow said her girls will need to pick up the intensity in practice this week and keep honing their precision before their road game against Aspen on Friday.
And when they do take on the Skiers, Spencer said she’ll be in the net cheering the girls on, calling out their breakdowns and, of course, making those tough saves.
“Uh, yeah,” Spencer said. “I just don’t see that changing any time soon ... or ever really.”