Erickson’s overtime goal lifts Tigers past Warriors
It appeared to be another one of those soccer games for Grand Junction High School.
On more than one occasion this season, the Tigers had outshot their opponent and controlled the ball for a vast majority of the time, with no reward on the scoreboard to show for it.
That all changed 81/2 minutes into overtime Tuesday when Danielle Erickson scored from out front to give Grand Junction a 1-0 victory over Central at Walker Field.
“When we connect, it’s beautiful,” Erickson said.
Credit Jennah Swander with the connection. Swander took the ball down the sideline, then centered a pass to Erickson to set up the score.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better setup,” Erickson said. “It would have been a crime to miss that shot.”
The Tigers (7-3-2, 4-1-2 Southwestern League) felt they should have defeated the Warriors during the teams’ first meeting on March 19, when they tied 1-1.
“I think we let down (in the first game),” Erickson said of another contest in which the Tigers outshot the Warriors. “There was no chance this time. After that first game, we definitely wanted to win to make up for that tie.”
In the process, the Tigers handed Central its first loss of the season.
Grand Junction had a 14-5 shot advantage through regulation, but Central goalkeeper Savannah Moore had a couple of diving saves to preserve the 0-0 tie.
“Savannah is tough to beat,” Grand Junction coach Adrea Tilford said.
Tilford said her team was possibly playing a little too cautiously.
“The girls were looking too long for that perfect shot,” she said.
“We made a couple of mistakes in front of the goal,” Erickson said.
With its collective backs against the wall, the Tigers needed a victory, or a tie to keep pace with Central (10-1-1, 6-1-1) and Durango (7-4-1, 5-1-1) in the SWL.
“We’re definitely feeling the pressure so (Tuesday) was an important game,” Erickson said.
There are a few more of those coming this weekend. Grand Junction and Central both host Durango and Montezuma-Cortez, which should help sort out the logjam at the top of the SWL standings heading into the final week.
Grand Junction still has Fruita Monument on its schedule and Central plays Montrose.
Both games close out the teams’ regular season next Thursday.
“We’re looking to win three more games,” Tilford said, trying to close the regular season on a seven-game winning streak.