The Durango High School girls soccer team got off to a flying start at home Thursday against Delta, as the Demons went up 2-0 in the first 10 minutes of the match and 3-0 within the first 25 minutes.
A sizable lead in soccer often comes with its own set of challenges. That was the case for Durango.
The Demons would go on to win 5-1 but were challenged in the latter stages of the first half. Delta had its chances and scored when Missa Webb headed one in to cut the deficit to two at 3-1.
Just four minutes later, Delta had another chance, as Makayla Kehmeier launched a free kick that required DHS goalkeeper Emily Badgley to tip it over the cross bar. In almost the exact same scenario one minute later, Badgley was forced to make another stop, and the Demons were able to clear the ensuing corner kick. DHS assistant head coach Keane Hamilton, who filled in as acting head coach for the third time this season, said the match could easily have been tied at three.
“Emily was fantastic for us today,” said Hamilton. “But the big thing for us there late in that first half was our communication. Balls coming into the box, that kind of thing. If people are going for it, they’ve gotta be calling it, and that didn’t happen enough today. Those long-range set pieces and the corner kicks, we were definitely just sitting and waiting and seeing if somebody’s going to win it instead of putting your name on it and heading it away.”
The Demons (5-4, 2-2 5A/4A Southwestern League) initially got on the scoreboard via a set piece, as Kayla Rubenstein floated in a ball near the back post. The Delta goalkeeper misplayed it, and the ball went in for a goal.
One minute later, freshman forward Ava Konikowski cleaned up a rebound to make it 2-0. Jael Larson added the third goal of the half before Delta crawled back into the match.
In the second half, all DHS needed was a bit of momentum, and it came almost instantly. Konikowski scored her second goal of the game after she tapped in Caroline Knight’s low cross 16 seconds into the second half to make it 4-1.
“That goal early in the second half was huge for us,” Konikowski said. “I didn’t really think about either of my goals and just followed the play through. But, at halftime, (Hamilton) just told us to clean it up and get back to our normal speed and get our passes solid. We had the intensity from the start of the second half and were much better and didn’t let up.”
A fifth Durango goal was scored in the 63rd minute by senior midfielder Jordan Reuille-Dupont to wrap it up.
Delta (6-4, 3-1 3A Western Slope League) would create plenty of chances but was unable to find the back of the net after its initial goal.
“We were trying to play the feet, win and get the ball first,” said Delta head coach Elaine Wood. “Those 50-50 balls were big, and Durango won a lot of them. We struggled with that today, and credit to us for hanging in there, but those potential turnovers in the midfield were the key in that second half, and we didn’t force enough of them.”
DHS will host Grand Junction (7-3, 2-2 SWL) at 1 p.m. Saturday at Riverview Elementary School. Durango beat Grand Junction 3-2 last weekend.