Winning one-on-one battles helps Montrose top 'Cats
Montrose midfielders continued finding a streaking attacker one-on-one with a Fruita Monument sweeper on Thursday, and, in the end, the near breakaways also benefitted an Indian in his first varsity match.
Jose Cervants had just been promoted from junior varsity, and was unfamiliar with his team’s formations. Ninety-three minutes into Montrose’s 4-2 win over Fruita Monument at Canyon View Park, however, Cervants heard his name. Then teammate Alec Rose sent a header. Cervants ran.
The ball found Cervants’ feet, and the varsity newcomer flicked the ball passed Fruita goalkeeper Connor Gaty, and then: “a lot of overwhelming joy,” Cervants said.
On each of its four goals, Montrose (2-2-2, 1-0-1 Southwestern League) was able to get the ball to an attacker with only one defender, and the keeper, to beat.
The setups were at midfield. Because Fruita set its back line 40 yards away from the goal, a Montrose midfielder such as Rose, who had two assists, had only to secure the ball and take advantage of the wide gaps through which to pass.
Nick Hansen scored twice for Montrose: one minute into the second half to put Montrose up 2-1, and, four minutes later, on a breakaway when he won a 50-50 ball, then shot by a charging Gaty and shot into an open net for a 3-1 lead.
Hansen played on an ankle he recently sprained at a tournament at Air Academy High School in Colorado Springs.
“We’ve had a tough couple of weeks,” Hansen said. “This felt good.”
Fruita (2-5, 1-1 SWL) could have used a couple of good bounces. Or a round crossbar instead of the square sort at the Canyon View Park field. The Wildcats hit the crossbar four times on line-drive bullets — twice by Avery Kuper, who scored the game’s first goal.
Fruita coach Dan McKee said he spoke to Montrose coach Jim Pavlich before the game, and that Pavlich said Montrose had just installed goals with round posts.
“You just wonder what (round posts) would have done today,” McKee said.
Montrose scored on all three of its second-half shots. Three of the midfield passes were ground balls; the other was Rose’s header.
“In practice we work on getting them to stick the ball through a window like this,” Pavlich said, holding his hands about 18 inches apart.
Like Fruita’s shots off the crossbar, the game was just that close.
Palisade 3, Delta 2: With Palisade ahead 11-10 in the fifth game, the Bulldogs’ Courtney Clark served three consecutive aces as Palisade put away Delta 25-20, 19-25, 25-22, 18-25 and 15-11 in Palisade’s homecoming game.
Clark added 22 digs and Morgan Thieszen had 16 kills for the Bulldogs (4-4, 1-0 4A Western Slope League).
Delta (4-3, 1-1 WSL) could not recover from Clark’s game-changing aces.
“It was crazy,” Palisade coach Wendy MacAskill said. “It just turned the game around.”
Fruita Monument 9, Montrose 3: Mariah O’Dell hit a solo home run in the sixth inning and a two-run single in Fruita’s four-run second as the Wildcats won at Montrose, 9-3.
“We had some crucial two-out hits and were just driving in runs,” Fruita coach Jack Thomas said.
Fruita (10-4, 5-0 Southwestern League) had 12 hits.
Montrose (8-2, 4-2) had a two-run home run in the seventh inning by Caitlin Warner.
Grand Junction 7, Fruita Monument 0: The Tigers No. 1 singles player Spencer Weinberg won 6-0, 6-0 over Nick Rutan as Grand Junction blanked the Wildcats.