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Demons rally past Rampart

/ Source: The Durango Herald

Demons rally past RampartDHS girls soccer team advances to second round of state playoffs

May 8, 2008By Aaron Unterreiner | Herald Sports Writer

Contrary to fable, the tortoise and the hare get along just fine.

In this particular episode, Bekah Keil played the role of both.

She used her speed to get around Rampart's junior defenseman Erin Ware, then, without wasting an ounce of quickness in real time, slowed herself down mentally to visualize her cross-goal shot.

"I get a little hyped up when I go for those," the Durango Demons' junior midfielder said. "I had to calm myself down. I thought about it, and then I put it where I had to."

After 67 minutes of patient, albeit frustrating, girls high school soccer, Keil scored the playoff equalizer.

Six minutes later, Katerina Garcia scored the game-winning goal.

"This team (Rampart) was here for the taking," Demons coach Aaron Eldridge said. "No disrespect to them, but I felt like we were the better team. We just had to show it."

Durango High School, the No. 14 seed in the Class 5A state tournament, showed it in the second half. One goal, two goal, and Durango defeated No. 19 Rampart 2-1 in the first round of the postseason Wednesday at Dirks Field on the Fort Lewis College campus.

"We looked a little frantic early in the second half. We lost our shape a bit and became a little disorganized," Eldridge said. "On the bright side, that got us playing.

"Once we spread out a bit, that really benefited our quick attack."

Durango just missed a scoring opportunity in the first minute of the contest then never relented.

Keil ran down a ball from Garcia in the southwest corner of spacious Dirks Field, then hit a left-footed cross to the far post.

The ball skipped too high for Morgan Gurule to safety.

Rampart was rarely dangerous in the first half save for a windy corner kick that danced through the Demons' defense.

Kami Strait's service from the northwest corner was caught high in the wind.

It floated like a butterfly until finally descending on Demons goalkeeper Callie Morris and her back four.

Morris, who said she was bumped by a Rams' striker in the box, got a hand on it but couldn't clear.

"There were a few missed headers, and then it dropped between four of us," Demons defenseman Kristi Gemperline explained. "The girl just came in and tapped it in."

Kristen Bechtold was credited with the game's first goal, a toe-tapper through traffic.

"I think the wind caused Callie to misjudge it," Eldridge said. "She was caught between two minds: Catch it, or punch it out?

"It just didn't get dealt with."

Before Keil, Durango senior Jami Cagle's game-tying attempt kissed the crossbar in first-half extra time.

Cagle made a long run down the east sideline, carried it outside, then floated a shot toward far post. It caromed off the crossbar, and Keil collected it inside the box.

Keil's shot on goal was scooped up by the keeper, and Rampart carried its 1-0 lead into halftime.

After several near-makes, Eldridge's halftime speech sounded something like this: "Finish! Just finish!" Garcia said after the game.

Twenty-seven minutes into the second half, Keil finished to tie the game at 1.

Gemperline played the in-ball, and Keil made Ware look motionless with a speed move to the outside of the keeper box. She went far post past a diving keeper for a 1-1 game.

"It was a good through-ball by Kristi," Keil said. "I give all the credit to Kristi on that one."

It was sophomore Brooke Sinton with the second service.

"It was a mistake in the midfield, and Kat was the first one to react," Eldridge said.

"That's what she does; she recognizes opportunities. She worked her butt off all game, and finally one came her way."

Sinton, who checked into the game just three minutes earlier, played the in-ball from the west sideline through Bechtold onto Garcia's feet.

Garcia, in the middle of the field, ran past the defense, waited to draw the keeper off her line, then scored the breakaway goal inside the far post for a 2-1 game.

"She was so calm," Eldridge said. "I think I was more nervous then she was. I was going, 'Shoot it! Shoot it!,' from the sidelines."

Durango finished the game as it had played throughout, with dynamic defense.

"I think they had two or three shots maybe," Eldridge said of Rampart.

"That's our platform. We build off that. We depend a lot on our back four (Erin Casey, Gemperline, Christina Spriggs and the combination of Erin Doyle and Mary Flick) to organize us, keep our formation and get the ball going forward to our attacking players."

Durango, which improved to 13-2-1, will play the winner of Wednesday night's late game between No. 3 Chatfield (14-1-0) and No. 30 Grand Junction Central (9-6-0) on Saturday.

The top seeded team will host the sweet 16 game.

"We've done what it takes to win," Eldridge said.

"It's not just the goal scorers, it was an entire team effort."

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