How sweep it is
Tigers win season series against rival 'Cats
The final 35 seconds weren’t the prettiest 35 seconds the Grand Junction boys lacrosse team had in their game against Fruita Monument on Thursday night. They shoveled the ball around the field and struggled to maintain possession as the Fruita defense closed in.
But when the final horn sounded, the Tigers maintained possession and sealed the first season sweep in either program’s history against each other with a wild 10-9 win at Stocker Stadium.
Paul Dohm flicked in the game-winning goal with 3:34 left in the fourth quarter, and the Tigers barely hung on. It was indicative of the entire game, where the teams traded goals and, at one point, blows.
After a malfunction with the lights had stopped the game in the third quarter, a small fight delayed the proceedings again, after two players became tangled near midfield. The referees doled out four penalties and an ejection of a Fruita player who came off the bench.
Tied 7-7 at the end of the third quarter, the Tigers limited Fruita star midfielder Aidan Woomer by matching him up man-to-man while the rest of the defense played zone, as well as double teaming Woomer on the drive.
Defensively, while the Wildcats focused on Grand Junction’s leading scorer, Scott Foster, Dohm took charge of the Grand Junction offense.
Dohm nearly doubled his previous season-high by scoring five goals.
“Paul has been amazing,” Tigers’ coach James States said. “He’s sneaky. What that means for our team is he’s always wide open or going to make a great pass. When he’s not scoring, he’s assisting, and he somehow slips by defenders.” Dohm, who led the team in ground balls, also frequently slipped inside the Fruita zone, which otherwise held strong for most of the game. “I wish we could have done a little more with technical stuff, but it was a heart-pounding, team win for us,” Dohm said. “We’ve just had a lot more technical skill and heart this year. We’ve brought some coaches in, and we’re just improving with technical skill.”
States credited patience with finally cracking the Wildcats’ zone defense. After Grand Junction came out firing in the first quarter, States said he urged the Tigers to play patient, pass-heavy lacrosse.
“We had something like 13 shots in the first quarter, and we finally slowed it down to (six) in the second quarter,” States said. “We weren’t really playing our game in the first quarter, and it was allowing Fruita to control the tempo.”
Luke Dohm had three goals and was the only other multi-goal scorer for the Tigers. Kolton Flick notched nine saves, including a crucial save during the final minute of the game.
Corey Henricksen had 17 saves for the Wildcats, and Dru Weihl led Fruita offensively with four goals.
Grand Junction outshot Fruita 41-28, and the Tigers consistently gained possession near midfield on face-offs and loose balls.
“The thing that killed us was ground balls,” Fruita coach Mark Young said. “We gave them way too many opportunities for ground balls, and it hurt us. We tried everything we could, and it still didn’t work.”