Head coach Dalon Parker said the No. 9 Durango High School girls soccer team fought harder than any Demons team he’d ever seen in Saturday’s Colorado High School Activities Association 4A Girls State Soccer Championships second-round matchup with No. 8 Mullen. In the end, it wasn’t enough to come out with a win.
Durango (12-5) and Mullen (12-5) finished regulation time in a 2-2 tie, but a tough break ended the Demons’ season in the sixth minute of extra time. The stout DHS defense made a successful clear that was sent back toward the DHS goal by defender Jamie DeBerardinis. The ball took a perfect bounce for the Mustangs near the 15-yard line and sailed over backup goalie Kayla Rubinstein. It snuck under the bar and gave Mullen the 3-2 win.
“It was just that kind of game where a lot of things just didn’t go out way,” Parker said. “But, the girls fought so hard. The odds and the breaks just didn’t seem to be in our favor, and that happens in soccer.”
It looked good for Durango early, as junior Mara Morrissey’s 18th-minute goal gave the visitors the lead. Mullen had a quick answer a few minutes later to tie the match. It was a big moment as Durango didn’t only lose the lead but also lost freshman goalkeeper Emily Badgley for the game.
“Emily tried to dive for the save, and we had to take her out with concussion-like symptoms,” Parker said. Badgley suffered a concussion earlier this season, and all precautions had to be taken.
The score was 1-1 through halftime and well into the second half before Taylor Klone scored what Parker thought was the game-winner.
“Taylor got a good shot off from about 25 yards out and it went in,” he said. “I really thought that was the dagger.”
Two minutes later, Mullen tied it again with a clutch 30-yard strike that evened it once again.
According to Parker, Durango had its chances early in overtime but couldn’t convert before the unfortunate final play.
“We made the right play in clearing the ball but it was sent back in and just took the perfect bounce for them,” Parker said. “There was nothing Kayla could do. We thought the player that got the goal might have been offsides, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
The loss ends an impressive season for the Demons. They won the league for the first time since 2012, and Parker believes the girls set a standard that will benefit his program for years to come.
“It was a super successful season for this team,” he said. “The wins were great, but even better was the way these girls earned everything they got. They played their hearts out and it’s this kind of season that we like to call program-builders. They changed the culture around here this year, and I’m super proud of all of them.”