Durango header deflates ‘Cats
Durango’s goal with about 10 minutes left in the first half came on a penalty kick after Fruita Monument was called for a hand ball in the box. That was frustrating for the Wildcats.
But trailing 1-0 was nothing to get down about. They had been playing the Demons evenly in terms of possession and scoring opportunities.
What happened with about two minutes left in the half, however, seemed to take the fight out of Fruita in a 2-0 loss Saturday to the Demons in a girls soccer game between teams vying for second place in the Southwestern League.
Lauren Milliet’s flip throw from near the left corner yielded a header that Wildcats goalie Kylie Goetz deflected, but the ball remained in play and in the air for Jessi Sigilitto to head in for the two-goal advantage.
Fruita coach Eric Anderson told his players at halftime they could come back, but Durango’s players were hearing a different tune from coach Dalon Parker. He told his players getting up by one goal is great. Two-goal leads? Those are soccer gold.
Such leads allow defenses to pack it in and offenses to focus on possessing the ball and limiting risks.
Fruita’s scoring opportunities dried up in the second half, attributable to a number of factors, such as the aforementioned. But another stood out: The Wildcats (7-6-1, 5-3-1 SWL) visibly lacked the energy they had in the first half.
“They were tired,” Anderson said.
That was displayed clearly in the middle of the second half when freshman Shaylee Holt, whom Anderson praised for her game-long hustle, was dribbling up the middle toward the goal. She worked hard to get in position to take a shot or make a pass, but there was a problem with the former: About a half-dozen Demons hustled back to form a wall in front of the goal.
And there was a problem with the latter: No Wildcats were rushing to get in position to help.
There was a lesson to take from that, Anderson said.
“We’ve got to get down and start helping our teammates more and more,” he said.
That’s getting harder to do, though, with the number of healthy Wildcats dwindling.
Fruita has been without one of its top offensive threats, Jordan Padgett, for the past few games because of injuries, and that’s been devastating for a young team that earlier in the season lost its leading scorer from 2012, sophomore Courtney Coffey, to a knee injury.
Other players are injured, too, Anderson said, summing the situation up with a simple, “We’re hurting.”
After losing a 1-0 game Friday to Grand Junction, Durango (10-4-1, 6-3-1) didn’t want any more damage done to its chances of making the Class 4A state playoffs. Parker said his team viewed the game as one it must win, and the Demons were a determined bunch whose hustle never waned Saturday.
“We didn’t play bad yesterday,” Parker said, “we just didn’t finish. Today we played like we did yesterday, and this time we finished.”
Parker also lauded his defense and midfield for solid games and added, “The other thing is we played as a unit. Instead of playing one-on-one out there, we were playing collectively.”