One team's tie is another team's treasure.The postgame sideline reactions told the story Friday afternoon at Riverview Sports Complex, as the Durango High School girls soccer team kept its undefeated Southwestern League record intact but failed to take advantage of the bulk of possession in a 0-0 tie against Grand Junction.
"We honestly were very rarely dangerous," DHS head coach Aaron Eldridge said. "I didn't feel like we played very well, but credit to Grand Junction. They had a high-pressure defense, and it put us off our game. We haven't been used to it in the last few games that we've played."
Fresh off shutout victories against Montezuma-Cortez, Fruita Monument and Montrose, the Demons received another clean score sheet from junior keeper Callie Morris, but Tiger keeper Shari Yurick was up to the challenge, stopping 17 DHS shots.
"We want to see the goals get finished, but it's the first time we've come out to play Durango in a couple of seasons that they haven't beaten us, and that feels good," Grand Junction head coach Adrea Tilford said.
"I think it gives us some good (incentive) going into our next game against them."
DHS (5-3-1 overall, 3-0-1 SWL) controlled the ball for much of the first half but failed to threaten at the Tigers' end.
The Demons' most promising chance came when Brooke Sinton dropped it off to forward Katerina Garcia on the left wing, and the senior's shot sailed high and wide across the goal mouth.
Garcia, who entered the game leading the SWL with seven goals, was a mild threat later in the first half on both a header in front and a half-volley from just outside the box, but failed to find her finishing touch.
The Demons started to force the action more after switching ends, but couldn't generate many scoring chances in the second half of regulation, either.
Early after the restart, Garcia slotted a pass through to junior Chelsey Moffat, who sent a laser-guided cross into the box and onto the head of a waiting Sinton, but the junior popped her header over the crossbar.
DHS maintained the pressure, using superior depth to outhustle the Tigers (3-2-2 overall, 0-0-2 SWL) in the waning minutes of regulation.
Still, the Demons didn't break through.
The first sudden-death period ended with Grand Junction's best two scoring chances of the match.
DHS defender Kristi Gemperline rushed back to beat Tiger striker Ashley Wallace to a bounding ball near the left post, and Grand Junction's Whitney Ravan shanked a point-blank shot by the same post after the ensuing corner kick.
"We're gonna get them," Tilford said of the Tigers' scoring chances. "They're still young, and they're building their confidence right in front of the goal in these hard games. They're gonna just start nailing them. It's going to be sweet, and people had better watch out."
The second five-minute period was similarly intense, with Wallace again narrowly missing wide left after a Ravan cross.
The Demons saw one final opportunity in the game's closing seconds, when a Mary Flick free kick led to a mad scramble in front.
Several players from each team touched the loose ball, but the Tigers emerged from the scrum victorious and left the field in celebration after the final whistle sounded.
"I think it was reasonably fair," Eldridge said of the game's dramatic final moment.
"Everybody was trying to get the ball either in or out, and sometimes you get those. Everybody was battling. That's one of the nice things about this game, is it was a great, hard-fought game."
Freshman Brooke Milliet, notable for her front-flip throw-ins, made the most of her playing time, controlling possession in the midfield and setting up the offense for scoring opportunites"She's a fantastic player and a great talent, and we're trying to give her as much experience as possible," Eldridge said.
The Demons play Grand Junction Central High School at the Riverview Sports Complex at 11 a.m. today. Central has finished runners-up to the Demons the past two seasons.
"We're a little disappointed with this, but (today's) another day," Eldridge said. "We'll go out and go after Central."
DHS will get a two-week break before facing Montrose on April 10.