Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
The Durango High School girls soccer team had its first brush with vulnerability Friday, and the Demons didn’t care much for it.
So they did something about it. Just not quite enough for an outright victory.
Berkeley Davis’ goal in the 63rd minute tied the game, and the contest remained scoreless from there as DHS played Fruita Monument to a 1-1 draw after two overtimes Friday at Riverview Sports Complex.
After going down 1-0 in the 56th minute, the Demons (3-0-1, 1-0-1 Southwestern League) seemed to flip the switch, beginning to tilt the field in their favor. That effort paid off in the 63rd minute when Bella Bernazzani played a picturesque corner kick toward the far post, where Davis was waiting to deflect it in and even the score.
“I just wanted to get something on it,” Davis said. “I was trying to be aggressive. I just attacked it, and Bella had a really nice cross in, and it just kind of connected.”
Durango had a golden opportunity to pull out a fourth consecutive victory to open the season in the 75th minute. Sophomore Lauren Milliet parlayed a nice tackle in the attacking third into a chance, crossing the ball from the left wing right in front of the net, but Bernazzani couldn’t quite guide it home, and Fruita Monument (0-2-2, 0-0-1 SWL) was able to clear it after a mad scramble in front.
“As soon as Lauren beat two people and as soon as Bella took off from the top of the box, I said, ‘Oh, that’s it,’” DHS head coach Dalon Parker said. “She almost had it. She knows. ... She’ll probably put one in (today).”
The Wildcats broke through in the 56th minute to grab what turned out to be a fairly brief lead. Some defensive miscommunication allowed Megan Hale an open shot off a cross inside the penalty area, and she scored inside the left post to give the Wildcats a 1-0 advantage.
Communication is a key area for DHS to shore up, Parker said. On a couple of occassions, Fruita Monument turned brief lapses into solid runs or quality shots from distance, including its lone goal.
The Wildcats missed out on a golden opportunity in the 50th minute, when Sarah Benton found herself with the ball on the counterattack, juked a charging Leah Stephens but shot wide of the open net.
“Toward the end of the game, we collected ourselves, and communication improved,” said Davis, daughter of Donna and Jim Davis. “And intensity improved, and I think that we put up a better fight toward the end of the game.”
Stephens, a freshman, made five saves in goal for the Demons in her first varsity start.
There weren’t a ton of scoring chances in either overtime, with perhaps the best falling to the Wildcats. Stephens stopped a free kick from about 40 yards out, but Fruita Monument pounced on the rebound, causing a scramble before eventually firing wide.
Parker, coaching in his first home game as head coach of the Demons, said he liked the way his team started and their fight late, grading the game as a “B-minus.” The Demons won’t have a ton of time for adjustments, however, with Grand Junction coming in at 11 a.m. today to wrap up the weekend in SWL play.
“We started very well. All throughout the game I thought we had spurts where we would ... kind of lose our focus a little bit,” Parker said. “And then at the end of the game, I felt we just took over. I felt we made more opportunities than they did, and we took over, but we just came up short.”