Drake’s goal lifts Tigers past Warriors

Central’s Lynzee Dwyer passes the ball to a teammate Wednesday night as Grand Junction’s Shelby Brown moves in on defense in the Tigers’ 1-0, double-overtime victory at Walker Field.

Jordan Drake didn’t think she was going to be celebrating.

Her shot from just outside the right corner of the 18-yard box Wednesday night was angling downward toward the feet of Central goalkeeper Marisa Brown, who for 165 minutes in two contests against Grand Junction this season had been an impenetrable wall in front of the Warriors’ goal.

“Marisa’s a really good goalie. I thought she had it,” Drake said.

So did Brown.

But, as Brown reached down with both hands to scoop up the ball near the right post, the unimaginable happened. The ball slipped under her hands and rolled into the goal. Brown struck the post in frustration and shortly after that put her hands over her eyes in dismay and disbelief while 20 yards away a sea of orange jerseys converged on Drake.

Grand Junction, which dominated both contests in scoring opportunities, finally scored a goal against Central 23 seconds into the second overtime for a 1-0 win at Walker Field.

The Tigers, who lost the previous contest to Central 1-0, finally got a break and extended their winning streak to four games.

Grand Junction (6-7-2, 5-4-1) had an 11-2 advantage in shots on goal, but they had many other hard shots sail over the crossbar or wide of a post, and they were the team applying the pressure at the end of regulation and throughout the first five-minute overtime.

“All season we’ve talked about finishing games, having energy in the final minutes, and we’ve won two overtime games (during the winning streak),” Grand Junction coach Joe Graham said. “It’s nice to see our girls being the team putting the pressure on in the final minutes.”

Central (2-10-2, 2-7-1) had two good chances late in regulation to prevent overtime as Lynzee Dwyer sent a hard shot toward the left post, forcing Tigers’ goalie Guadalupe to make her first save of the contest at the 74:10 mark. Twenty seconds later, Dwyer sent another shot toward the left post, and Torres was there again for her second and final save as she recorded her fourth straight shutout.

“Lynzee had a couple hammers on the goal,” Warriors coach Jacob Pingel said. “I thought she was going to end it.”

Pingel moved Dwyer up from midfield to striker with the intent of applying that kind of pressure.

Soon after, Grand Junction regained control. Leah Swander fed a through ball to Drake, whose opportunity to score was stopped by Brown, who came out to the top of the 18-yard box to smother the ball. Drake also made a good run up the middle with two minutes left in the first overtime only to see Brown come out to the top of the box again and smother the ball.

Drake finally prevailed with a different approach, the long shot from the right side.

Brown remained on the field until Pingel came out to console her, and he walked with her to the Warriors’ bench.

“That’s life,” Pingel said. “Sometimes you just have to say, ‘I’m unlucky. No matter what, I’m still a good player.’ “

Pingel commended the Tigers for winning and praised Graham for the job he has done.

“I want to give a big shout out to Joe Graham,” Pingel said. “The turnaround his team has made, the way he has them playing at the end — fantastic. He’s done a tremendous job.”


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