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Durango girls’ lacrosse opens against fierce foes

Team has high hopes in new season
Emmylou Willis of Durango High School, pictured last season, scored three goals against Roaring Fork in the team’s season opener on Friday. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The Durango High School girls’ lacrosse team faced some tough competition to begin its season, falling 9-6 against Roaring Fork on Friday and then 14-2 against Aspen on Saturday.

“We got thrown to the wolves starting with two state power houses,” said DHS head coach Eric Elliot. “Overall, I’m happy with how we played and I couldn’t be happier with the heart we showed. Even in the Aspen game where they jumped on us, our heads were up and we battled until the end.”

Against Roaring Fork, the coach said DHS was in it the whole game, but the team got a bit winded toward the end.

“I think our lack of conditioning got the better of us,” Elliot said.

Emmylou Willis scored three goals to lead the Demons while Victoria Barletta, Kayana Newcomer-Bell and Sophia Kothe also found the back of the net against the Rams.

Against Aspen, Barletta and Annabel Carithers supplied the team’s goals.

Goalie Fiona Chandler, who also plays goalie in hockey, made 11 saves against Roaring Fork. Against Aspen she made another 10 saves, finishing with a 60% save percentage. “That’s pretty darn good,” Elliot said. “She’s going to be depended on this season … she has a good eye and quick reflexes.”

The team only lost three players to graduation, so quite a few players return this year, including Carithers, the 4A Mountain West League’s player of the year last season. Carithers and Barletta were also all-state honorable mentions last year, while Jaden Rambo is a returning senior captain this season.

Other players have also stepped up, like freshman defender Laurel Dondlinger.

“She has big shoes to fill, but I think she’s definitely up to the task,” Elliot said.

With a lineup filled with experienced players, the Demons are hoping to go far this season.

“We have pretty high hopes for winning the league and hosting a playoff game this year,” Elliot said.

The team has 28 players out, allowing it to field both a varsity and junior varsity squad for the first time in Elliot’s four seasons coaching.

“Having a JV is encouraging,” Elliot said. “Last year was a struggle to get the kids playing time. Now they’ll come back as sophomores with solid game experience.”

Durango’s JV took down Aspen 7-6, getting four goals from Mia Carozza.

Now that the team can practice on a full field, as of Monday, it can really kick it into high gear.

“Not having a full field to practice on made it hard, but the problem is solved now,” Elliot said.

The Demons are scheduled to next play Eagle Valley at 5:30 p.m. March 24 at DHS.