DHS soccer doesn’t make the grade

Demons’ girls soccer side suffers its first loss on ‘just one of those days’

Dalon Parker wasn’t shy about the grade he gave his Durango High School girls soccer team Saturday.

“(Saturday) overall would have to be an F for us,” the DHS head coach said. “We just didn’t kind of show up (Saturday). We didn’t really play. We weren’t doing what we normally do.”

Grand Junction dictated play for the majority of the game, and although the Demons tried to mount a rally, it wasn’t enough to topple the Tigers, who pulled out a 1-0 win on a cloudy and cold Saturday at Riverview Sports Complex.

The Tigers (2-2-1, 1-0-1 Southwestern League) had a few chances early and spent a majority of the first half in Durango’s end of the field. They finally made it pay off in the 39th minute.

Courtney Barger found herself on the right wing about 20 yards from goal with plenty of space, and she fired a beauty under the crossbar to give Grand Junction the 1-0 lead it never would relinquish.

Durango (3-1-1, 1-1-1 SWL) played a fairly solid game Friday in earning a 1-1 draw with Fruita Monument. Saturday, however, was a different story. The Demons seemed off their game almost from the start, lacking some of the intensity they showed in rallying to tie the Wildcats and nearly pulling out a late victory the day before.

“We came out pretty slowly. We needed to pick it up, communicate, work together,” said senior defender Stephanie Ogier, daughter of John and Katie Ogier.

The score wasn’t quite indicative of the quality performance turned in by the Tigers, who just missed adding to the lead on a couple of occassions.

Leah Swander nearly missed in the first half when her hard shot from about 25 yards out was saved, and she provided a better opportunity for herself in the 43rd minute. Swander came in from the left and slid a shot under the hard-charging goalkeeper, but her salvo rolled inches wide of the post.

Barger had a quality chance for her second goal of the afternoon in the 49th minute, and she would’ve had an open net to shoot into if not for an impressive tackle by Durango’s Elizabeth Wiegert.

“We have some things to figure out. I think we just didn’t bring our A-game (Saturday),” Ogier said.

Durango started to show signs of life as the second half wore on. Bella Bernazzani’s free kick in the 53rd minute was ticketed for the far post with two DHS runners tracking it, but Grand Junction goalkeeper Lupe Torres deftly punched it out of harm’s way.

Bernazzani’s next attempt minutes later, coming from a tough angle on the left side of the pitch, sailed over the crossbar, and the Demons’ final chance came when Steffie Wilson’s cross found Lauren Milliet’s head right in front of the Grand Junction net, but Milliet couldn’t quite get enough on it as Torres made a routine save.

In the end, the late surge came too late to help Durango.

“Our effort picked up later, but it just wasn’t there when we needed it,” Parker said. “Just one of those days.”

rowens@durangoherald.com