It was the perfect start for first-year Durango High School girls soccer head coach Jonathan Berzins in the home opener for the Demons on Saturday afternoon, as they got out to a resounding 4-0 first half lead against The Academy (2-2, 1-0 3A Frontier League) of Westminster. DHS went on to win 8-0.
Junior co-captain Hannah Coster found the back of the net three times for a hat trick and scored the opening goal of the game in the seventh minute. She got her foot on a ball that was pinged around in the box off of a corner, and it went over the keeper’s head to make it 1-0.
Berzins said that while DHS had a commanding lead at halftime, he wanted more players to get involved in the action.
“In the first half, to be honest with you, I thought we came out a little sluggish, and even though we put away four goals, it just wasn’t a collective effort and was kind of an individual effort,” Berzins said. “So, our challenge to them at halftime was can we collectively move forward and be more of a cohesive unit, and they really, really responded to our talk and came out and played well. We had a great performance from everybody.”
Durango (2-2) created plenty of chances after the opening goal but had an 18-minute interval before the second goal. Eventually, defender Emma Duke came up from the back line and was left unmarked, as she scored on a half-volley to make it 2-0 in the 25th minute. The flood gates quickly opened, as the Demons scored two more times before the break.
Caeley McClain added a third for DHS in the 34th minute when Georgia Mynatt found her on a through ball, and McClain calmly put it away. Coster scored her second of the half on the stroke of halftime, when she received a ball in the box at the penalty spot, turned and fired it off of the left post and in to make it 4-0 Demons at the break. Durango had a commanding 15-1 shot advantage.
In the second half, it was a similar story, as senior forward Sasha Kozak was able to add her name to the score sheet. She scored twice in the second half after she created plenty of chances in the first half but did not find the back of the net. She finished with two goals and an assist.
Coster added her third goal of the afternoon in the 60th minute, while Mynatt scored in the 71st for the final DHS goal. Coster has scored five goals in the last two games for DHS.
“My freshman and sophomore year were hard, and so this is my year,” Coster said. “I’m coming for it, and I’m hungry. I am starting to find my groove offensively, but I know how much we’ll be tested down the season, so I think it’s big for everyone’s confidence to be this high early on.”
Durango had six different players tally assists and have scored 12 goals in its last two games. Saturday was Durango’s first shutout of the season.
The Academy head coach Kenny Wood thought his side did well, considering many played in the junior varsity game directly before the varsity game.
“They’re resilient, and we had a lot of JV players who were able to swing up and get some good minutes, and I think that’s a positive to look forward to. Girls that normally don’t get the chance to play got the chance to play in two games today,” Wood said. “Durango was very physical and athletic, and it was tough to keep up at times, but we had chances there in that second half, which was good to see. ... We’ll be able to string together some quality wins in the next couple of weeks, and I think we can have a solid finish to the season.”
Durango will look to continue its home form against Telluride (2-2, 2-2 2A Region 4) at 6 p.m. Monday at DHS.