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Ready or not, 3 cancellations stick DHS into league play

The Durango High School girls lacrosse team isn’t as happy about opening its season at home as one might think.

Not only did the Demons lose their first three games to the weather – all to be played on the Front Range – the long-lived Four Corners snow took their field lines, too.

By Wednesday afternoon, the Demons hadn’t yet gotten a single practice on a properly marked girls lacrosse pitch. They will open Mountain League play against Fruita Monument at 4 p.m. today at DHS, before league play keeps rolling at 11 a.m. Saturday against Aspen.

“We haven’t been outside as much as we’d like,” DHS head coach Jenni Darlow said at Wednesday’s indoor practice. “There’s no room for error; there’s no room for ‘We can fix that later.’ We can fix it today and tomorrow.”

Just how much does Durango need to fix?

Even after losing a bevy of key players last year, probably not a whole lot, said Darlow, last year’s Mountain League co-Coach of the Year.

Her top goal for this year involves more goals. Scoring them, that is – “more offensive production, more goals.”

“Not from one person, either,” she said. “I think we’ll have three or four top scorers.”

Last year’s 10-3 team was defense-heavy. It didn’t score many goals, but it didn’t need to.

This year, Darlow wants to see some scorers step up, starting with senior Alyssa Montoya, last year’s assist leader.

“I think it’s definitely motivation for myself and also maybe to be a leader,” said Montoya, daughter of Richard and Victoria Montoya.

“I’m just ready to play lacrosse.”

Sara Martin, who missed last season with shoulder surgery, will provide a boost in the midfield transition with her stick skills, Darlow said, while Hannah Quick makes the move from low defense to low offense to add some more scoring firepower.

“That girl can shoot,” Darlow said. “I expect her to have a pretty big impact.”

Still, in the program’s fifth year, Darlow doesn’t want a ramped-up offense to rise at the expense of her defense.

“I don’t want to see a letdown,” she said.

DHS freshman Shaelee Hawkins should provide some new blood with “stellar defense” with the help of sophomore Kelsey Pool’s “real knack for interceptions and deflections.”

In fact, Darlow said she’s comfortable with her pieces at all of the field positions.

The only big question is how to replace goalkeeper Alyssa Spencer, who’s off to a 4-3 start for the Fort Lewis College’s women’s lacrosse team after graduating last spring.

DHS senior McKenna Rigdon will try to play the part.

A transfer from Missouri, Darlow said she’s still getting used to the defense and Durango system, especially after not having played goalkeeper since her freshman year.

But ready or not, lacrosse season is here.

“I think we’ve got a good group,” Montoya said. “I think we’ll do good.”