Emmons’ hat trick lifts Tigers to win
All season long, Morgan Emmons — a midfielder on the Grand Junction High School lacrosse team — has been working on improving her scoring chances.
On Thursday, the work paid off.
Emmons finished with a hat trick to help beat Fruita Monument 7-5 at Walker Field. It was the first matchup between the two teams.
“It was nice to finally get into it and make my goals,” Emmons said. “I’ve been struggling a little bit with my shots, so today was when I pulled it out.”
Emmons’ goals came when the Tigers needed them. Her first, with 20:14 left in the first half, tied the game at 2-2.
Her second goal came with 12:37 left in the second half to give Junction a 4-3 lead that the Tigers wouldn’t relinquish.
And when Fruita closed the gap to 6-5 with 2:15 left, it was Emmons that had the final goal of the day to put the score at 7-5.
“Morgan Emmons had a great game,” Grand Junction coach Kathaleen Recker said. “She’s pretty aggressive. I know she wanted to score pretty bad, so she was working pretty hard at it. She wanted it today.”
Emmons was part of a Grand Junction offense that used speed to open up fast breaks to the net. The Tigers finished with 27 shots. Recker credited part of the success to the position of her defenders.
“They were playing high,” Recker said. “They usually play way back (but) they came out of their zone. They were key to getting the ball and getting it back over to the offense.”
But once they got to the net, the Tigers couldn’t convert because of Fruita goalie Stephanie Long.
Long, who was the starting goalie for last year’s Grand Valley team, made 20 saves.
“She’s an excellent goalie and we knew that,” Recker said. “We just had to keep possession of the ball and keep shooting.”
Fruita jumped out to an early lead, scoring twice in the first two minutes off goals from Melissa Meyers and Jenn Piburn.
Grand Junction followed with three goals in a row, leaving the Wildcats trailing 3-2 with 7:25 left in the first half. With 1:42 left, Jennifer Hicks scored to tie the game before half.
In the second half, the Wildcats didn’t score until the final minutes, when Piburn had her second goal of the game with 5:33 left to narrow the Junction lead to 5-4. Fruita would score once more on a goal by Alexandra Collins.
“We had a tough time scooping the ball today,” Fruita coach Lenny Lang said. “We lost more than we got and that, I think, was the divider.”
Junction also had two goals from Amy Flukey and goalie Holly Meer had three saves.
Thursdays game was the first of three between the teams this season.
The Tigers will continue their season Saturday at Eagle Valley, while Fruita plays Eagle Valley on the 13th at Canyon View Park.