Durango too much for Devils | VailDaily.com

Durango too much for Devils

Matthew Piper
Vail, CO Colorado
FILE EVBLAX John Landreth DT 3-31-09

DURANGO, Colorado ” The Demons gave the Devils hell to pay on Friday afternoon.

Eagle Valley’s first-year boys lacrosse program lost 9-2 to Durango at Durango High School Stadium, falling victim to a balanced attack and strong goalkeeping, but head coach Eric Mandeville was proud of how his boys stacked up.

“Seven-hour road trip,” Mandeville said. “It’s a long way, but it’s good. I think our teams are relatively well matched.

“It’s the best lacrosse we’ve played this season. They played aggressively, with high intensity. It takes time to work on your stick skills, but our team has always played with heart.”

Durango midfielder Connor Coughlin faked a shot and passed it to a wide-open Jamie Hards in front, who finished over the shoulder of a charging Bryce Steggall to put the Demons up 1-0.

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Kendall Murphy hit the cage on a shot for Durango minutes later, before Demons goalie Tyler Gordon stopped three consecutive shots near the crease from attackman Zack Bailey.

“Zach Bailey really shined on attack,” Mandeville said. “He takes low-angle shots, and he’s a tall kid, so I tell him to take one more step, and then he has that angle.”

Bailey had the full attention of the Durango defensive effort.

“I knew he was their shooter,” Gordon said. “He was always looking for a shot. You can look in their eyes, if they’re looking at the goal.”

Durango defenseman Joe Schmidt picked up a ground ball and ran hard at a defense that was anticipating a hard shot, then dished it to Aaron Blue for a quick, low finish and a 2-0 lead.

Mark Barkman scored in traffic to get the Devils on the board, but Durango came right back.

First, Devin Owen’s scoop shot clanged off the left post, then Blue took it through the left side of the defense like a swarm of gnats and bounced it into the top left corner like a cricket bowler.

Jamison Blair scored again for the Devils, absorbing a big hit during the finish. But that was the end of the assault on the Demons’ cage.

Hards found Blue in front again for his hat trick, then Zane Bilgrav scored during a pending Eagle Valley penalty.

Matt Stillwell set up Bilgrav for his second goal and a 7-2 advantage, then Brennan Buiso spun and shot over Steggall’s left shoulder moments after.

Hards scored on a late scramble in front to cap off the final scoreline 9-2.

Mandeville praised Steggall’s effort in the loss.

“He had a really good game,” Mandeville said. “He had a lot of saves today and really stood out. A couple got in toward the end, but he played tough in the beginning.”

His counterpart, Gordon, continued to make saves late into the action during fill-in duty for John Constantino.

“He stepped it up,” Durango head coach Jed Gilden said. “He’s not typically our normal goalie, but we might have to think about keeping him in there.”

Mandeville gave his Devils their due.

“They’re good athletes,” he said. “We have a lot of kids who’ve never played before, but they’re learning the game.”

Huskies bow at Grand Junction

GRAND JUNCTION ” After a spirited effort at Aspen Thursday, Battle Mountain had little left in the tank by the time the Huskies arrived at Grand Junction, falling, 8-1, Friday.

Grand Junction led 6-0 at the end of the first half. Reeve Sanders scored for the Huskies in the second half.

Battle Mountain journeys to Durango today for another Mountain Conference tilt.

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