‘Cats make early goal stand up
With roughly 21 minutes remaining in the first half of Tuesday night’s girls soccer game, where a wet and windy Walker Field looked like a snow globe, a hard touch from Fruita Monument’s Sarah Mercer turned into a tweener-ball for Central goalkeeper Marisa Brown.
As the ball skipped behind Central’s defense and Mercer broke through, Brown had to decide whether to charge at Mercer or stay in the net.
When Brown shifted to her heels, Mercer attacked and blasted a right-side finish past Brown for the only goal in the Wildcats’ 1-0 victory.
Fruita (6-4-1, 4-1-1 Southwestern League) was fortunate to score a goal before halftime, because Walker Field’s artificial turf turned into a skating rink in the second half. A heavy rain turned to snow in the second half.
“This is the craziest weather we’ve played in during all three years I’ve been with the program,” Fruita coach Eric Anderson said. “This is nuts. The rain was fun, the girls like playing in rain. But when the snow started falling, it got a little dangerous not being able to see the ball.”
Fruita had 10 shots on goal and forced shots from deep. Brown tipped a few deep shots inches over the crossbar, but Central’s (2-8-1, 2-5-1 SWL) defense kept Fruita out of the goal box. Fruita controlled possession for most of the game, but locked the ball down in the second half.
“With this weather, it definitely tested our touch out,” Anderson said. “That’s what we’re about. We’re a possession team, and I’m glad to see we’re mostly consistent with that, even with conditions like this.”
Central managed its first shot on goal halfway through the second half and finished with two on goal. Coach Jacob Pingel switched from his typical 5-4-1 formation to more traditional 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 sets. Pingel said he was trying to boost the Warriors’ offensive chances while keeping their trademark defense.
“We’ve been emphasizing getting our holding midfielders up,” Pingel said. “We play three in the middle, and we’ve been wanting those two to play up and generate more offense. We’ve generated more offense, now we need more chances.”
Fruita center midfielder Jordan Padgett left the game with a concussion after a collision in the final 10 minutes of the game. Anderson said Padgett will miss Thursday’s game against Grand Junction.