Second-half flurry: GJ scores three goals after halftime to top Central
By the time the final buzzer sounded on Thursday at Walker Field, the Grand Junction High School soccer team had been through a lot.
After falling behind at halftime, the Tigers picked up their game, scoring three second-half goals in a 4-2 win over Central.
“There’s a big emotional ride there when you’re up, you’re tied, you’re down,” Grand Junction coach Adrea Tilford said. “Then to come back and get three on them on the second half shows a lot of heart and character.”
The Tigers quickly grabbed the lead with a goal in the fourth minute by Ashley Wallace, who scored from 19 yards out in a two-on-one situation with Central goalie Tayler Else.
Once it had the lead, Grand Junction spent most of the half keeping Central in check with a tight defense around the goal.
Late in the half, the Warriors got the ball to Krista Ferguson, who put a low shot into the net to tie the game.
In the final two minutes of the half, Central was fouled with the ball just outside of the penalty area. Arianna Herrera took the shot, putting it over the head of Grand Junction goalie Jennifer Kelly.
But when the Tigers came into the second half, they came on strong — scoring two goals in the first seven minutes of the half.
“We just felt like if they were going to push us hard, then we had to fight back that much harder,” Grand Junction forward Stephanie Drake said.
Wallace scored her second goal of the game five minutes in to tie it. Two minutes later, Danielle Erickson found the goal to give the Tigers the lead back at 3-2.
From there the game got physical, with offside calls and fouls stopping runs from both teams. The two teams limited each other’s shots late.
The Tigers got their final bit of offense in the 78th minute when Drake, who wasn’t able to capitalize on earlier scoring opportunities, got a rebound off Else and put it in the net.
Grand Junction played the game without normal starting goalkeeper Shari Yurick, who is out with an injury.
Kelly, who is normally a midfielder, recorded five saves in her place.
“Jenny did amazing,” Tilford said. “She made some really key, clutch saves, especially in the first half.”
The Tigers (3-2, 2-1 Southwestern League) move on to play Moffat County on Saturday. Central (4-4, 4-3 SWL) plays Montrose on Tuesday.
Palisade 2, Battle Mountain 0
The Bulldogs set the tone defensively, giving up only five shots to earn their second straight win. Palisade (3-1-1, 3-1 Western Slope League) goalie Amelia Davis finished with five saves.
“They wanted this game today,” Palisade coach Raina Sorensen said. “This is the best we’ve played all season.”
Palisade’s first goal was scored by Natalie Combs in the 37th minute, allowing the Bulldogs to take a 1-0 halftime lead. Flannery Davis added a security goal in the 54th minute.
Palisade plays a nonleague game Saturday at Colorado Rocky Mountain School at 11 a.m.