The Lady Panthers righted the ship to a scoreless draw in the first half at Riverview Sports Complex in Durango against an aggressive Lady Demons team on Tuesday evening.
In the second half, Marlene Conner found the back of the net for the home team for a 1-0 lead. Shortly after, an own goal that bounced off Aubrey Lopez and past goalkeeper Mariah Edwards spelled doom for Montezuma-Cortez High School, as Durango pulled away for a 4-0 home win.
M-CHS (4-4, 1-4 4A Southwestern League) kept pace for 47 minutes with its rivals to the east. But after Connors goal, the Lady Panthers seemed to wear down physically and mentally to Durango (3-3-2, 2-1-2 4A SL).
We were matching up well, we were applying pressure through the first half, we were building off what we accomplished last week, and then things werent falling for us, M-CHS coach Bobby Sitton said. We started losing some of the pressure that we were putting on, losing most of the 50-50 balls, and we continued to tailspin. We never could get it back together in that second half.
Down 2-0 after the own goal, the Lady Panthers never threatened again and the once struggling Lady Demons were poised for a second-straight win.
Karlee Mulkey scored the next two goals for Durango, the third coming off an assist from Amanda McAliney.
Even though it was 0-0 at halftime, the Lady Demons had more penetration against the M-CHS defenders. After halftime, the Lady Panthers didnt weather the storm.
We just really needed to settle down. We were trying to be a little creative, Durango coach Aaron Eldridge said. We were just really encouraging them to play the feet, move for each other, work for each other and keep the ball, and then our opportunities would come.
Lady Panthers junior Baylee Lindsley has seen limited opportunities against Durango and is now 0-5 in her career at M-CHS against the Lady Demons. Those struggles continued to wear on the Lady Panthers mentally on Tuesday.
I think we all let down as a team after that first goal. It was all mental. We just couldnt get it back, Lindsley said. I think it gets to our heads a lot. Theyve beat us for the past three years that Ive been playing. I think we just need to get through and know that were just as good as them, if not better.
Sitton agrees that his team looked intimidated and didnt match Durangos intensity for 80 minutes.
Durango is always a solid team. Theyve got great players and theyre well coached, but we let down. We didnt give the pressure back, he said. We let them step in front of us pretty much all game. We talked to them at halftime that this was coming. We had to start stepping to the ball. We lost our aggressiveness.
M-CHS will step out of conference and look to rebound against the Lady Demons of Ridgway on the road Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Reach Bobby Abplanalp at email@example.com.