The seniors were not about to lose their last home match.The juniors, sophomores and freshmen were not about to let the Durango High School seniors lose their last regular-season match, especially to a rival.
Together, the multi-class Demons defeated pesky rival Montezuma-Cortez 2-0 on Thursday afternoon, Senior Day for the DHS girls soccer team at the Riverview Sports Complex.
The win rewarded the seniors - all the Demons - with a postseason match next week. Possibly more.The shutout also gave the Demons (9-4-2 overall) a long-shot chance to host a first-round Class 5A playoff match next week.
"We didn't want to come out, as seniors, and lose our last match here," DHS senior co-captain Kristi Gemperline said. "I was a little nervous that it was only 1-0 at halftime."
But, she said, the Demons ramped up the pressure with a barrage of shots early in the second half, including the game's second goal from fellow senior Katerina Garcia - barely 2½ minutes into the half.
"In the second half, we put up a ton of shots. We ... got the goal. Unfortunately, a lot of the shots ... missed," Gemperline said.
"It was an important win," said DHS head coach Aaron Eldridge, who praised his team's possession and domination of shots in the Southwestern League victory. Durango led in shots 24-5.
"We did a good job of possessing the ball. Sometimes it's hard to find your finishing touch. But we've been working hard in practice on possession and (attacking) on offense," Eldridge said. "I was pleased (Thursday)."
Durango opened the scoring when junior Kelsey McLean controlled the ball after a series of Demon attacks in the opening minutes of the match. Her left-footed blast curled up and into the back of the net in the fifth minute.
Garcia's second-half goal came from the far-right sideline. Her right-footed laser, from 35 meters out, rocketed up and over the Panthers' keeper into the back corner - 2-0.
"I almost couldn't ask for anything better than these seniors," Eldridge said. "For a long time, they've been an important part of our team."
He said a postseason opportunity for the current seniors is "fantastic."
DHS seniors Gemperline, Garcia, Bekah Keil, Jocelyn Leroux, Erin Doyle and Mary Flick were honored, along with their parents, in pregame ceremonies Thursday.
"These girls have been the heart and soul of (these) league championships," Eldridge said.
The Demons, with a 7-1-2 SWL record, nearly won their third consecutive league title. But Grand Junction Central captured the 2009 crown with a 3-0 victory at Montrose on Thursday evening.
Central likely will host a first-round state playoff game as the SWL champion.
The Demons, who have hosted first-round matchups in recent years, may have to hit the road this season as the SWL runner-up.
Either way, the Demons are still playing. They'll learn their playoff opponent Sunday afternoon.
"It's been a lot of fun ... with the seniors," Gemperline said. "They're great people. We have fun. But when they have to, they ... focus and do their jobs."
The Demons - all classes - will be back at practice today, presumably having fun and - doing their jobs.