Quick start helps Tigers run past ‘Cats in lacrosse
Chemistry is a very good thing.
Tuesday at Walker Field, the Grand Junction High School girls lacrosse team sprinted to a 10-0 lead over rival Fruita Monument en route to an 18-8 victory.
“They are really cohesive,” Grand Junction coach Kathaleen Recker said. “Every single one of them is dedicated to our goals.”
The Tigers’ chemistry is undeniable along its front line with attackers Santana Martinez, Maddie Spor and Kacie Jay.
Martinez scored an early goal and set up Spor for a goal and a 3-0 lead. Both players have verbally committed to play at Mesa State next season.
“Getting the quick start was very important,” said Martinez, a third-year varsity player. “We got a lot of momentum from it, and we were playing as a team.”
The Tigers (2-0) controlled the first 10 minutes of the first half, getting multiple goals from Spor and Martinez along — with scores from Morgan Emmons and Jay — to take a 10-0 lead.
“Our offense just clicks,” Recker said. “We move the ball around, and it all comes down to hard work.”
Fruita Monument (0-2) recovered with goals from Sunny Heart and Katie Heil to cut the Tigers’ lead to 10-2.
Grand Junction added two more goals before halftime for a 12-3 advantage.
“We dug ourselves a big hole,” Fruita Monument coach Jamie Pietrack said. “It was ball control and winning those 50-50 balls. Grand Junction has great ground-ball skills and that hurt us.”
The Tigers stretched their lead to 14-4 early in the second half with goals from Morgan Armbruster and Lindsay Erb.
The Wildcats responded with a four-goal run, including two from Mikayla Clark, to cut the lead to 14-7 with 12:30 remaining.
“The girls worked hard in the second half,” Pietrack said. “We started to make a comeback, but it wasn’t enough.”
Grand Junction made another push in the final 10 minutes of the game, and an Emma LeFebre goal with three minutes remaining gave the Tigers an 18-7 lead.
“This game is up there on our list,” Martinez said. “It means a lot, and we needed this win.”
Martinez led the Tigers with five goals. Spor, LeFebre and Jay finished with two each.
Clark led the Wildcats with four goals.
Grand Junction got off 44 shots, and Fruita Monument goalie Jennifer Hicks finished with 17 saves.
The Wildcats took 19 shots, and Grand Junction goalie Holly Meer had six saves.
“We have good team chemistry and good leaders and we’ve been working hard,” Recker said. “But we still want to elevate our game.”