The Durango High School girls soccer team has quickly found its footing after a rocky first week of the season when its offense was shutout in two games and conceded nine goals, to boot.
First-year head coach Jonathan Berzins has calmed the early-season nerves and has had more than one player step up for the Demons. None might be more critical to the scoring than junior co-captain Hannah Coster, who has five goals in her last two games and added an assist to give her 11 points through the first four games of the season.
Although she didn’t end up on the score sheet in Monday night’s 1-0 win against Telluride, Coster influenced the game, as she created plenty of chances for her teammates and almost found the back of the net on a free kick.
“I think that from getting Jonathan as a coach, we’ve seen a lot of positive changes, and we are seeing that progressively happen throughout our games,” Coster said. “The first couple of weeks of the preseason and first weekend was tough, but it all came together against Skyline. He’s a great coach and knows what he’s doing. When he’s there with us, he’s able to communicate to everyone in different ways, and when he can do that, we’re more successful and positive and we can connect as a group. He knows how to talk to everyone differently to where it clicks, and I think this is why we’re successful at the moment.”
Through four games, Coster already topped last year’s season total after she scored just twice in 14 games played.
Her confidence is evident from the moment she touches the ball, as she has made numerous key passes and has helped set up scoring chances.
“My freshman and sophomore seasons were tough, so to have a good start to the year really is doing a lot for my confidence,” Coster said. “I told myself at the beginning of the year that this was going to be my year. I’m coming for it and I’m hungry.
Berzins has seen Coster’s confidence grow during the three-game winning streak and said it’s a credit to her and her teammates adjusting to the new set of expectations.
“Hannah comes to practice every day and wants to work extra hard,” Berzins said. “She’s embracing a lot of what the coaches and I are telling her, and she’s getting in great spots on the field and sets herself up very well from a positional standpoint as well as tactically. She goes after every 50-50 ball and influences the game in so many ways. She and the rest of our front line are doing a great job of producing chances and putting the ball in the back of the net for us.”
Coster, daughter of Erika Ball, said that it’s all about putting the new changes, formation and team’s newfound confidence into a positive driving force.
“Compared to Saturday’s game versus tonight, an 8-0 win versus a 1-0 win, we always will look at things in a very positive way,” Coster said. “We still won, but there’s still things that we are learning. That’s what’s going to help us become successful. It’s not just having confidence in myself but my teammates who give each other confidence. We’ve got great team support, and I think that’s why we’ve been playing so well as of late. We knew that our defense would step up, our midfield would step up. We knew that it wasn’t going to be all about an individual, and we’ve had to play as a group.”
Coster and the Demons hope to keep up the hot streak when they will visit Fruita Monument at 6 p.m. Friday.