Durango High School’s girls soccer team moved to 2-0 in league play with a thrilling double overtime win against Grand Junction High School on a cool and windy day at DHS Stadium.
A little more than four minutes into the second overtime, the Demons were awarded a corner kick on the left side. The Demons played the ball to the near post. It slipped through the grasp of Grand Junction keeper KK Lacy, fell to the turf behind her and was poked into goal by DHS senior Taylor Klone, a Colorado School of Mines signee, for a 3-2 Demons victory.
The wind played a major factor in the match, and four of the five goals scored on the day came with the wind blowing at the offenses’ back.
“The wind was the 12th player out there,” DHS head coach Robert Logan said. “The reality of it was just trying to stay in it in the first half when the wind was blowing in our face the whole time, and we were able to. They were determined to play the game and played really hard. ... They kept at it and kept working hard, and you can’t ask for more than that from your players.”
With the wind at their backs, the Tigers (8-2, 2-2 5A/4A Southwestern League) imposed their will on the Demons (4-4, 2-0 SWL) for the first 20 minutes of the match.
In the opening few minutes, Grand Junction got off several shots, a few of which on goal, before finding the goal in the 11th minute when Gracie Lyman scored on a shot from about 20 yards out to beat DHS keeper Suanna Gustavson to the upper-right portion of the goal.
The Tigers had another great chance when a shot got by Gustavson, but Lydia Larson knocked the shot away before it got to the goal. On the ensuing corner kick, the Demons couldn’t clear the ball, and, after it bounced around a few times, one of the Tigers in the mess of players poked it in for a goal.
“I think they played really sharp on the ground, and we got up 2-0,” Grand Junction coach Joe Graham said. “Then maybe we got a little frantic after they got their first goal. But both teams were really back and forth the whole time. It came down to who was going to capitalize and execute.”
Durango answered in the 20th minute with a goal from Kayla Rubenstein. Rubenstein outran the Tigers’ defense to chase down a long pass, then beat the Grand Junction keeper for the goal to make it 2-1.
The midway point of the first half also marked a stark change in the defense of the Demons.
“We weren’t playing their forwards correctly defensively,” Logan said. “One of the great things about Amanda (Raso), my assistant, is she’s really a defensive expert. Her ability to break it down and see what we needed to do differently is one of her skills as a coach.
“It took them about 15 minutes to figure it out, but they were able to adjust. Our midfielders weren’t really playing off each other and our fullbacks weren’t marking the people we were supposed to be marking, but we adjusted that and (Grand Junction) didn’t get a whole lot of threat.”
In the second half, the Demons had the wind at their backs and took quick advantage with Hannah Coster providing the equalizing goal in traffic four minutes into the second stanza.
The Demons controlled possession for the bulk of the second half but didn’t get many clean looks at goal, as the Grand Junction back line kept the action from getting too close to its goal.
“Our defense played really strong and our keeper KK Lacy played really, really strong,” Graham said. “She stepped up and stopped a lot of balls, and she’s definitely our player of the game.”
After the full 80 minutes of regulation, the two teams were still knotted at 2-2 and went to overtime.
Durango had a great chance in the opening seconds of overtime. Jael Larson received the ball about 12 yards out in the center of the field, but she didn’t get much behind her shot and it bounced into the arms of Lacy.
Similar to the first overtime, Grand Junction got a shot on goal in the opening minute, but the Tigers shot was from a good distance out and bounced into the arms of Gustavson.
The Demons turned around and earned a pair of corner kicks. The first, which came from the right side, was easily snared by Lacy, but the second ended with the game winner.
Durango will be back on the field at 1:30 p.m. Saturday when the Demons will host league-leading Fruita Monument (6-2, 3-0 SWL).