Montrose girls soccer Natalie Hernandez v Durango at home

Montrose's Natalie Hernandez (No. 14) chases after the ball during a game against Durango at Montrose High School on June 8, 2021. (Josue Perez/Montrose Daily Press) 

Several players on the Montrose High School girls soccer team walked off the field Tuesday following the 3-1 loss to Durango unfazed. They’d just lost their fifth straight game (fourth straight in league play), but head coach Cassie Snyder affirmed why the loss was not one to dwell on.

“I think we’re right there,” head coach Cassie Snyder said. “I told (the players) that after the game. This is the best team (Durango) in the conference — they beat Fruita 3-1, and Fruita’s a fabulous team. Our conference has a bunch of good teams in it, and we’re right there being one of those best teams.”

Snyder’s confidence in her players has resonated with the 2021 group, who limited Durango to one goal in the first half — a free kick that Kyle Rowland placed in the top corner of the goal. Montrose is one of two teams (Grand Junction) to hold Durango to a single score in the first half twice this season.

The Indians kept pace with their rival counterpart in the second half, but a few mistakes on the backline gave the Demons all they needed. Clara Krull scored on a cross from Sarah Somrak, and she added another after a tip of the ball from Montrose goalkeeper Rachel Robuck, with Krull scoring off the rebound.

Despite the scoreline, Snyder characterized Montrose’s performance against Durango as one of the best they’ve had through eight games.  

“Transitioning quickly and collective defensive pressure, that was a big difference for us,” Snyder said. “I thought our performance defensively was great… we’ve been talking a lot about being concentrated and intense throughout a game. We can’t lose focus because those are the moments that cost us, and have cost us this year. I think we did a better job of those things today.”

Montrose had 25 chances against the Demons, seven shots on goal, but only capitalized once — a score from Josie Coulter, her eighth this season, in the second half off a cross from Kenzie Bush. 

The Indians have scored three times in their past five games after opening the season with 12 through three games (11 of which came against Grand Junction Central in back-to-back games).

Durango had 26 shots on goal, leading to 24 saves from goalkeeper Rachel Robuck.

It’s been a competitive Southwestern League in 2021. The last time the SWL had two teams at the top with one loss each was 2017, when Fruita and Durango both went 7-1 in league play.

This season, it’s much of the same, with Durango (6-0-1) and Fruita (5-1-1) leading the pack. Even Grand Junction, at 3-4 in SWL, has played tough, outscoring SWL opponents 13-11.

Through eight games, only two of Montrose’s games have been against a team with a losing record (Central).

The schedule, too, has been much different for a team ironing out the mistakes and finding itself. The Indians played five games in 11 days to start the season, but have played three in 14 days since then, and will finish with back-to-back games against Fruita and Delta this Thursday and Friday that ends the regular season.

“If we can just pull those pieces together the next year and following year, we’re going to be one of the best teams out there. I really believe that,” Snyder said.

Montrose has a chance to get back into the win column Thursday in Fruita, set for a 5 p.m. start.

Josue Perez is a staff writer for the Montrose Daily Press

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