Fruita Monument, Durango play to a tie

ryan kinf, a fruita monument midfielder, jumps in the air to win a header Saturday against Durango.



Fruita monument’s jack allard heads the ball Saturday against Durango at Canyon View Park. Fruita and Durango played to a scoreless tie.



Is there such a thing as a moral victory without anyone winning the game?

The Fruita Monument High School soccer team believes so.

The Wildcats waged a 90-minute struggle with Durango on Saturday, with neither team able to find an open net at Canyon View Park.

The result of the 0-0 tie left Fruita Monument one game up on Durango in the win column after the first week of Southwestern League play. The Wildcats and Demons are the only teams without a league loss.

“Durango’s probably the best team in the league,” Wildcats junior midfielder Hank Hartshorn said.

Considering the Demons are the defending SWL champions and coming off a season in which they reached the Class 5A state semifinals last fall, that’s the popular idea.

“It’s more than a moral victory,” Wildcats coach Dan McKee said.

After losing its first three games, all in nonleague, the Wildcats (2-3-1, 2-0-1 SWL) got an overtime victory over Central on Tuesday, a one-goal victory over Montezuma-Cortez on Friday and a tie with the odds-on league favorite Saturday to start the league.

Fruita Monument and Durango both had their share of chances Saturday, including a back-and-forth first half that saw both teams attempt five shots on goal and miss on an opportunity.

“We almost dominated that first half,” McKee said, feeling like his team had taken the initiative.

Although McKee has some experienced players on the back line, “We’re still pretty young up front,” he said.

Not wanting to allow the quick Demon forwards to get breakaway chances, McKee put the emphasis on the defensive end in the second half.

“Defense first and you work up from there,” Hartshorn said of the team’s philosophy this season.

Part of the strategy by Mckee was an attempt to keep his troops fresh. The Wildcats were playing their third game in five days.

“They just came out hungry in the second half and we knew they would, so we had to play hard,” Hartshorn said.

The Demons (2-0-1, 1-0-1) appeared to get on the board with 10 minutes remaining in the second half when
Nick Hofman headed in a pass off a corner kick, but he was called for offside and the goal was disallowed.

“Obviously (a tie) is not as good as a win, but I’m happy with a tie,” Hartshorn said.

The result had him excited about getting another chance against the Demons in two weeks. The Wildcats have four games before the rematch, however.

“We’ve got a lot of soccer to play,” Hartshorn said.


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