Grand Junction Central cornered the market on scoring opportunities in Saturday's soccer match against the Durango Demons.
The Warriors cashed in on a relentless series of corner kicks, scoring two goals in a 5-minute span early in the second half, stunning the Demons 2-1 on the previously sacred ground at Durango's Riverview Sports Complex.
The Demons, coming off a tough 0-0 tie with Grand Junction on Friday, bounced back with a goal midway through a spirited, end-to-end first half.
After Central goalkeeper Savannah Moore saved a left-footed dart from Durango's Katerina Garcia, the Demons extended the pressure.
Kelsey McLean, after gaining possession in Central territory, placed a perfect pass to a streaking Brooke Milliet, who rolled a shot that tucked just inside the far post: 1-0 Durango.
"We wanted better touch, better passing after (Friday) night," DHS head coach Aaron Eldridge said.
"We got that in the first half. But in the second half, we lost focus on what we do well," Eldridge said.
Central, meanwhile, went to goal - by way of the corners.
Taking over possession early in the second half, the Warriors' senior-laced lineup pushed the attack to the end lines, drawing corner kick after corner kick.
"Clearly, they work on that (corner kick set). And they do it well," Eldridge said, recalling the Central corners.
The Warriors' tying goal came when Stacey Kinnett curled a corner kick right into the middle of the box, where Ashley Paul headed the ball into the net.
After a brief threat from the Demons, Central drew back-to-back corners.
The Warriors converted the second into the go-ahead goal when Kinnett angled the ball into the mixer of Demons and Warriors in front of the goal.
When the ball wasn't cleared, Haleigh Higgins knocked it past the DHS defenders into the net: Central 2-1, 14 minutes into the second half.
A smoky pall hung over the pitch at Riverview, partly from the trash and leaves burning nearby in the neighborhood and partly from the vanishing dominance the Demons had enjoyed on their home turf in recent years.
"That's what we have to expect," Eldridge said, "teams are going to give us their best shot. We've got to be ready for that."
He said the Central attacking style also hurt the Demons in the second 40-minute period.
"They are very direct. That direct style can cause us problems," he said.
The Demons handled the attack early.
"But we lost the plot for about 20 minutes. And Central played well," Eldridge said.
"We've been working on those (corner) plays all year," Central coach Douglas Beach said.
"Durango has a tough, tough defense. We knew we would need to utilize our ... corners," he said. The Warriors had seven corner kicks in the second half, 10 for the game.
The Demons had six corner kicks, unofficially.
Beach said the win over Durango was a long time coming for the Warriors.
"This is the first time we've beaten Durango in five years. These seniors had never beaten Durango," Beach said.
"They really wanted it."
Both coaches agreed the match was demanding and physical.
After one rough exchange in front of the Durango goal, yellow cards were handed out to Durango's Meghan O'Brien and Central's Sara Thomas.
Moore preserved the victory for Central with a pair of double-fist, knockaway saves in the closing minutes.
One came on a powerful direct kick from Durango's Mary Flick, which seemed destined for net.
Moore had other ideas.
She twice had saves on Garcia in the final minutes. And had one more on Neely Surmeier.
"She's a senior. She's a leader," the Central coach said.
"She's going to go on and play in college (Eastern New Mexico). She works hard."
The Demons moved to 3-1-1 in the Southwestern League, 5-4-1 overall with Saturday's loss.
Central improved to 2-1-1 in the SWL, 5-3-1 overall.
Spring break's next for the Demons; their next match is April 10.
Eldridge said his spring break plans will include ... "a lot of film."
"We have the team and the talent to be getting better results," Eldridge said.
"I know the girls will bounce back."