The season started out rough for the Durango High School girls lacrosse team.
DHS (0-6, 0-3 Mountain League) began its conference schedule on the road against three of the top teams in the league in Aspen, Fruita Monument and Grand Junction without four varsity regulars.
“We’ve probably had the toughest schedule of any team in our league,” DHS head coach Jenni Darlow said.
The Demons will get some of those regulars back and finally play at home at 3 p.m. Friday against Battle Mountain (3-2, 2-1 ML).
Maddie Conlin leads the Huskies with 16 goals while Clare Baker is close behind her with nine.
“They bring a lot of speed and persistence,” Darlow said. “We played them last year in Vail. We had a one goal lead with less than two minutes to play and lost by one. We know they’re not going to quit.”
DHS will follow that with an 11 a.m. Saturday game against Steamboat Springs.
Those will be the Demons’ first two home games after a six-game road swing to start the season.
“We’re definitely looking forward to not having to be on the bus for four hours before a game,” Darlow said. “It’ll be nice to be at almost full strength.”
Abby Jackson’s return to the lineup should help the Demons smooth players into more natural roles while giving the defense a boost.
“The players that we’ve had at our games are amazing, but I’ve had to ask too much of them,” Darlow said. “Just being able to put her into our defense lets us actually get to a lineup that we want where we can sub the midfielders. We can move people up to where they should be playing.”
The Demons’ attack has held its own.
Tymbree Hawkins leads the team with 12 goals. Payton Randle has eight, and Alyssa Swan and Jessie Sutherlin each have seven.
Randle also leads the team with nine draws won.
While her sister handles the front end, Shaelee Hawkins has been the key to success for DHS on defense and in the midfield.
She leads the team with 13 groundballs and nine takeaways.
Megan Pope keeps the Demons safe between the pipes at goaltender.
She allows 9.840 goals per game and has made 44 saves, good for a .517 save percentage.
The Demons have an opportunity over the weekend to make some headway and start to climb the ML standings against the two teams above them in Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs.
“We can definitely do that this weekend,” Darlow said. “These games are important. I think we’re fairly evenly matched. (Friday’s) game will be a good measure of where we are.”