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Durango soccer gets on track against Alamosa

Demons shuts out Mean Moose 10-0
Emery Miller of Durango High School splits Grand Junction High School’s defense last season at DHS. On Tuesday against Alamosa, Miller scored three goals and assisted two more. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

The Durango High School girls’ soccer team picked up its first win of the season on Tuesday, blanking the Alamosa Mean Moose 10-0 to improve to 1-1 on the year.

“After last night’s game, I feel we’re picking up where we left off last year,” said DHS head coach Melissa Halonen. “We’re playing soccer the way we want to play and meshing as a team.”

The Demons, currently ranked No. 10 in Class 4A, reached the 4A state semifinals last year where they fell 1-0 to the eventual champion, Northfield, in a heartbreaker.

DHS then got off to a rough start to its season this year, unable to train on its field because it was covered in snow and also missing six players to basketball because they kept winning on the hardwood. DHS then started its season against a tough 5A foe, Ralston Valley, and lost its opener.

Durango, however, found its stride again Tuesday, with its key players back and a dry field to prepare on. DHS took a 6-0 lead into halftime against Alamosa and continued cruising during the second half. Durango’s goalies, Riley Dastrup and Ryne Neiman, didn’t have to make a save during the game.

“I’m hoping to build on what we created last year: Playing good possession-based soccer and keeping our confidence up,” Halonen said. “I’d like to build our attack, get more run-of-play goals and get more creative and dynamic in the attacking third.”

On Tuesday, nine of Durango’s goals came in the run of play while the other was scored on a set piece with a corner kick.

Emery Miller and Mason Rowland both finished with hat tricks. In addition to scoring three goals, both players also assisted two goals.

Riley Campbell assisted three goals and scored one.

“It was really fun to watch the three of them work together in the middle to create scoring chances,” Halonen said.

Defender Adde Neiman also scored with great hit, Sarah Somrak scored on a great shot just inside the 18-yard box and Carter Neiman headed in a goal for the Demons, the coach said.

Sydney Ryan and Sophie Raggsdale also assisted goals for DHS.

Even though Dastrup and Ryne Neiman didn’t have to make any saves, the coach said hey got involved as outlets and did their part in the team’s possession-style of play.

“This group of kids … I asked them to do three things in the game and they capitalized on all three,” Halonen said. “We’re ready to build off yesterday and we’re spending every moment (in games and at practices) with that end goal in mind.”

DHS will next play its home opener at 5:30 p.m. Friday when it welcomes league foe Grand Junction to town.