New Durango High School boys soccer head coach Aaron Champenoy wanted to get his high school coaching career off to a good start Friday afternoon against Glenwood Springs. After the first 25 minutes, it was anything but, as the DHS Demons went down an early goal. Durango eventually found its offensive rhythm through junior midfielder Leland Heinicke, who scored two goals on the way to an impressive 3-1 victory.
After the slow start, the new head coach was impressed with how his team responded.
“I thought our effort level was really good tonight,” Champenoy said. “I thought we left a lot of chances out there and could have probably been five or six goals, but we did a good job of creating opportunities, and we reacted really well after going down a goal.”
Glenwood Springs took the lead in the 25th minute after German Alvarado headed the ball into the top right corner of the net, leaving Durango junior goalkeeper Caleb McGrath stranded with nothing he could do about it.
Durango was able to respond with more than a few chances, and, in the 33rd minute, Glenwood Springs goalkeeper Carlos Guardado made a diving save to keep them in the lead. He motioned to the Durango student section, but it was the fans who would have something to celebrate moments later.
Durango found the equalizer just one minute later, as Heinicke scored a header off of a corner kick.
The teams went even into halftime tied at 1, despite Durango leading in the shot category 7-5.
“Coach (Champenoy) mostly told us that (Leo Mireles) and (Alan Videla) were creating a lot of play, so we needed to man-mark them,” Heinicke said. “Once we took them out of the game, we were able to get a better grip on it.”
Durango indeed was able to get a better grip and feel for the game in the second half, as it was the possessor and controlled the flow of the game. DHS would take the lead in the 47th minute, as Heinicke was able to control a loose ball in the box off of a corner and sliced it into the top right of the net, giving Durango the lead for good.
“I went up to get the head, but I missed it and fell on the ground,” Heinicke said. “I saw it bouncing on top of the six (yard box) and connected with it, and luckily it went into the back of the net.”
Durango added an insurance goal in the 69th minute when Glenwood Springs’ Jackson Kruse knocked in an own-goal after a low cross came across goal.
Champenoy said that even with the victory, there was a lot to look forward to. “I inherited a good group of guys and the seniors have been great transitioning from their old coach of three years to me,” Champenoy said. “We’ve worked a lot on coming together as a team and a family and I think it showed on the pitch today.”
The new head coach also was impressed with Heinicke’s play.
“I told Leland at the beginning of the season that he could have a huge year for us, and starting the season off with two goals is a great start,” the coach said.
Durango will be back in action at 11 a.m. Saturday at home against Battle Mountain.